Until comparatively recently, Google had not approached the corporate side of the business with the same verve as it addressed the consumer side of things. Whilst Google offers a suite of corporate applications and services, certain products have not seen much development designed to make them more appealing to the corporate market. Where products have been improved and offer a more comprehensive list of features that could appear to the corporate buyer, Google have not pushed their advantages. For example, the Android platform has had its security boosted in recent years but has not made a significant impact in the corporate market. Instead, it has been adopted as a device of choice for a great many customers participating in a BYOD, or Bring Your Own Device, scheme. The Chromebook has been a great success for the education market but has yet to make much of an impact on the corporate side of things. However, there are signs that things are changing: last October, Google announced a new scheme designed to help those customers locked into an Enterprise Agreement switch to Google Apps.
The deal on the table consisted of offering the Google Apps service free for the remainder of the Enterprise Agreement plus support for training needs. Today, Google have announced that almost 200,000 new users have joined the Google process. Google are extending the original offer, bringing more companies into the fold. The original offer expired on the 16 April but the new one runs for the rest of the year. Furthermore, Google have lowered the minimum staff number from 250 down to 100 (with the same 3,000 maximum staff number). Qualifying companies will still be able to obtain a $750 voucher for specialist security training as part of the migration to the Google way of working. Google's blog on the subject also cited that some companies are offering free services to ease the migration, such as Security Keys – a means of keeping accounts safe from phishing and hijacking using encryption and two-step verification technologies. Some Security Keys will be offered free of charge with any additional licenses having a 50% discount for qualifying companies. Of course, customers switching to Apps for Work benefit from the full suite of services including Gmail, Google Drive, Hangouts and Calendar.
Essentially, Google wants small and medium businesses to be able to switch to Google Apps for Work without suffering the financial penalties associated with breaking an existing Enterprise Agreement. Google is keen to highlight that "companies with basic EAs [Enterprise Agreements] and no dependencies have the potential to cut costs by up to 70 percent through switching to Google Apps for Work." Let's not also forget that a worker with an Android smartphone and Google Chromebook could have full access to the Google Apps for Work suite at a very inexpensive cost of hardware. And of course, switching companies to the Apps at Work plan utilizes Google's existing cloud infrastructure, which the business is determined to grow under the stewardship of Diane Greene.