New Zealand Law Society - Why you're not using G Suite: and why you're wrong

Why you're not using G Suite: and why you're wrong

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I love getting feedback and questions from readers of this column.

It is a bit depressing how little actual change it seems to be driving, however. Here’s how a typical reader interaction works:

Reader: “Hey Damian, I just wanted to say thanks for all of the great advice in your last LawTalk column, it’s excellent and you’re really handsome.”

Me: “Why thanks, I think about working out sometimes, does it show? By the way, what changes have you implemented as a result of the column? I’d love to know how they’re working out?”

Reader: “Oh, none – my IT person says you’re full of shit, but I think the advice is great. High fives!”

illustration of a computer

Ok, maybe I embellished a bit, but you get the gist of it. The truth seems to be that you’re all too busy to actually follow any of the advice in this column and your ‘IT person’ is unlikely to let you change if you wanted to. It can also be too hard to know where to start.

So let me help you out – here’s something easy and inexpensive that you can do, but that will have outside benefits for your firm: switch to Google’s G Suite.

G Suite (previously known as Google Apps) is Google’s cloud-based email, intranet, communications, file storage and productivity suite for business. It also does a whole lot of other stuff, but these are the features that will change your world.

It is, in my professional opinion, simply peerless. It’s fast, reliable, inexpensive and, most importantly, it sucks way less than everything else on the market.

Now I know what your IT person is going to say – “Oh, we use Office 365 (or a mail server, or whatever else they’re clinging to for dear life) and this is way better than G Suite”. I’m sorry, it’s tripe. Office 365 doesn’t hold a candle to G Suite.

I should be more diplomatic, but I can’t bring myself to do so. If you’re not using G Suite then I think you’re wrong.

The reason you’re probably using Office 365 or (even worse) your own mail server is because this is what your IT person is most familiar with and what they’re likely to make most money from. You’re using it for their benefit, not your own.

Let’s look at some of the key reasons why you should switch your firm (or yourself if you’re on your own) to G Suite today:

Google Mail

Two words: Unlimited mailbox.

With Office 365 you are restricted to a 50GB maximum mailbox size (100GB if you’re on an enterprise plan). This might sound like a lot, but it’s not. I still see lawyers (or their support staff) having to delete email, remove attachments and otherwise waste their lives trying to keep their mailbox below their quota like it’s 1995 or something.

There are loads of other features (such as Google’s superior SPAM filter and webmail client) that make Google’s email platform superior to Microsoft, but this one truly matters.

Unless you have a legal reason to so, you should never, ever have to waste your life deleting emails or attachments.

Keep all of your email. Don’t delete any of it. My mailbox is over 700GB in size and I have emails going back 15 years, all of which are fully searchable in seconds. It costs us about $15 per month to have unlimited mailboxes on G Suite. How much is your time worth?

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts gives you the ability to chat online, have voice calls or even high-definition multi-party video calls with anyone – internally or externally.

Office 365 comes with Skype for Business, but it’s much more difficult to set up and use and it’s a lot more onerous for people outside of your organisation to join your Skype calls.

Hangouts is ridiculously fast and easy to use and it drives huge improvements in efficiency. Want advice on a litigation matter? Instead of ringing around to see who’s available (regardless of whether or not they’re best to answer) why not send a hangout message to the entire litigation team asking for advice?

Sooner or later that message will be seen by everyone in that team, irrespective of whether they’re online or offline, in the office or working from home, etc, when you send it. They can either respond in the group hangout and get a discussion going, or they can reply to you (or even a sub-group) directly.

Best of all, all of your hangout conversations can be easily saved in your mailbox for easy search and retrieval later.

I use Hangouts for video calls with customers all the time. Not only are video chats a lot more effective than talking on the phone, but I can also share files, share my screen and a bunch of other cool stuff. Yes, you can do these things with products like Skype, but Hangouts is just so much easier.

Google Drive

Google Drive provides unlimited file storage, plus a bunch of clever mechanisms for making those files securely available to you on a bunch of devices. You can share files with people outside of your organisation, as with Dropbox, etc, meaning you never have to worry about what version of a file a client is looking at again. With Google Drive you can all securely access the same file at the same time.

The Office 365 alternative is called OneDrive, but it’s not nearly as good, so almost none of my customers use it.

Making the switch

Switching to G Suite is easy and it can be done without you losing a minute of productive time or a single email.

We charge customers a flat rate of $50 per user to move them to G Suite and we’re unlikely to be the cheapest in town.

Damian Funnell is a technologist and founder of Choice Technology, an IT services company and, a cloud software company.

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