There's a sentiment that often comes up when discussing BYOD, the changing workplace, and the consumerization trend as a whole. It's the idea that consumer-oriented cloud services and mobile apps are delivering a much better user experience than an IT staff, business software, and enterprise developers can provide. That's led companies like Enterproid and Apperian to focus on the end-user experience as well as the IT and management experience of their mobile management products. Both companies see the end user experience as a powerful competitive advantage.
Google QuickOffice update ups ante in cloud battle with Microsoft
This week Google announced tighter integration between its online business apps and QuickOffice, the product it purchased in June that enables mobile users to view and edit Microsoft Office documents.
It's the latest volley in an ongoing battle for the heart of mobile users. Microsoft has launched Office365 and SkyDrive in an attempt to attract its loyal desktop Office users to the cloud.
The latest version of QuickOffice is more fully integrated into the Google Apps for Enterprise product. According the official Google blog post on the matter, "In the past few months, we’ve incorporated QuickOffice conversion technology into this process so your Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint files look even better when you convert them to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides, respectively."
Google is also giving QuickOffice for iPad away for free to all its enterprise customers. That app makes it possible for iPad users to read and edit Office documents.
Google bought QuickOffice expressly to help Google Apps for Enterprise customers access and share Office documents with colleagues who might not be using Google Docs -- and help prevent customers from drifting to the Microsoft offering. Given the popularity of Microsoft Office, being able to work with Office documents on any platform including iOS and Android gives Google a substantial advantage.
In fact, a report published by Morgan Stanley (pdf download) last May predicted that 25 percent of tablet users would buy a Windows tablet precisely because of the easy Office integration. If users can access and edit Office documents on a different platform, however, that partially negates Microsoft's advantage -- and if users didn't have to worry about Office, would they still buy that Windows tablet?
John Blossom, author of the book Content Nation and president of market research and consulting firm Shore Communications, says Google's popularity has been on the rise and an improved QuickOffice gives it a leg up, especially among younger users who prefer to use less expensive and more open cloud services.
"The integration of QuickOffice into Google Docs reduces Microsoft's ability to attract its Office users to its own cloud-based Office 365 productivity apps and SkyDrive cloud storage services. It's far more likely that younger PC users will continue to 'go Google' for their productivity needs, using QuickOffice to bridge the technology generation gap for those still forced to stick with more costly and less open Microsoft solutions," he said.
Microsoft has been talking about building a version of Office for iOS for some time, although it still has yet to release a product. With this release, Google is undercutting Microsoft before it can get out of the gate with Office for iOS. Blossom believes Google is putting the squeeze on Microsoft with this move. "A future for Microsoft gets harder and harder to imagine with every new Google product and feature," he said.
Bring your own device is so 2012. The next big push in the consumerization of IT is bring your own cloud. And just as when consumer devices poured into the enterprise, many IT organizations have already responded with a list of do's and don'ts.
Skyhigh monitors what cloud services employees are using and said that most businesses are surprised at what it finds.
A study by Cisco Systems' Internet Business Solutions Group concludes that the value companies currently derive from BYOD is "dwarfed by the gains that would be possible if they were to implement BYOD more strategically."