This week I was asked to provide some guidance on setting up the email, calendar and contacts of several businesses so that they could access the data anywhere and on any of the mobile devices that they used.
Although I'm a Google Apps and Android person myself, I had to get this working on Apple devices. The set up on Android devices, as should be the case, is very straightforward but it wasn't as straightforward to get things set up on the Apple devices. On an Android device, you set up a Google Account once and then any office apps that want to sync with the account, do so automatically. But on the Apple devices I had to separately configure each app with the same Google account, which was very annoying indeed. I get the fact that Google isn't Apple's best friend but they couldn't have made it any more awkward to set up something that should be very straightforward. But at least Apple have made provision to support Google tools out of the box.
Anyway, setting up a domain name for your business, getting the domain name to be managed via Google Apps and then syncing all your mobile devices with your Google Account means there is no reason to not stay on top of the day to day activities within your business whether you're in an office, at home or on the go. More so if you lose one of your devices then you know that your data hasn't been lost.
Google Apps used to be free for small and micro businesses who didn't need any more than 5 user accounts. While it is no longer free after the 30 day trial period, it is still great value for money at $50 per user account given that you get email, contacts, calendar, Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sites, Google+ for you and for your business etc. You also get 15GB of cloud storage for free and if you need more you get 100GB for $4.99/month.
In addition to this there is Google Apps Marketplace where you can find a very large number of application providers who have partnered with Google to integrate your Google Apps account with their apps. But that's another blog post all on its own.
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