Can Google Finally Change the Face of Unified Communications?

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July 20, 2016
by Rosa Lear BLog Post Title Underline

 While we’ve spent time covering Microsoft’s presence in the unified communications space and the Skype for Business offering, we haven’t discussed Google very much.


Despite Google’s disruption of Microsoft Office back in 2006 with the release of Docs, Sheets and Pages, Microsoft has since dominated Google in the enterprise space. In fact, research shows that 61% of medium to large enterprises have existing or planned Office 365 deployments as opposed to just 26% for Google’s productivity suite.

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However, Google’s partnership with RingCentral in June 2016 marks its latest attempt to plug the holes in its unified communications offering. Will this be the move that allows Google to overcome Microsoft in the medium to large enterprise market?

How Google Apps for Work has Emerged through Small Partnerships

 In contrast to Microsoft’s in-house development of Office 365 and major acquisition of Skype, Google has gone after its productivity rival through small partnerships. In addition to the Google Apps that many people know—Gmail, Docs, Hangouts, etc.—partnerships have helped Google fill out its enterprise productivity suite with the following:

  • Google Voice emerged out of the 2009 acquisition of start-up GrandCentral. 
  • Dialpad is funded through Google’s venture arm for further support in workplace phone solution deployments.
  • Google Sites and Springboard are the result of a 2006 acquisition of JotSpot. Today, the two offerings allow companies to create internal corporate networks and use Google search to find information across all productivity apps. 

These are just a few of the ways Google has improved its unified communications suite to compete with Microsoft in the enterprise space. However, the recent partnership with RingCentral could potentially be the missing piece that the tech giant has been searching for. 

 What the Google-RingCentral Partnership Means for Unified Communications

The goal of RingCentral Google Edition with Google Apps for Work is to offer a robust enterprise communications solution specifically targeted at overtaking Microsoft Office 365 and Skype for Business. 

Bringing RingCentral into the Google productivity suite gives Google access to WebRTC integration, enabling users to initiate voice calls seamlessly within Google Apps for Work. By seamlessly connecting Gmail, Chrome, Android, Hangouts and more, along with unlimited Drive storage, the RingCentral partnership could be exactly what Google needs to seriously compete with Microsoft in the enterprise.

One way that Google can use this partnership to differentiate itself is to provide seamless transitions to cloud-based communications. Microsoft is known for easing enterprises into cloud communications, slowly weaning customers off of legacy equipment. The partnership between Google and RingCentral makes a more convenient shift possible, which will become increasingly necessary for enterprises keeping up with digital transformation trends

Only time will tell how this new move affects Google Apps for Work deployments, especially considering that safe and seamless face-to-face video conferencing solutions are a necessity in this day and age. 

One thing is certain though: the marquee partnership with RingCentral puts Google's productivity suite in a much more competitive position.

Regardless of the Productivity Suite, Customer Experience Is Everything

There’s no doubt that Microsoft’s productivity suite offers a much different user experience than Google’s Apps for Work. However, the technology they offer is largely the same. To truly differentiate themselves, both companies will have to battle each other for improved customer experiences. 

The key to delivering a high quality unified communications experience is a proper approach to security, service management and analytics. If you want to learn more about the network edge orchestration approach to communications support, download our free white paper, Network Edge Orchestration—Supporting VoIP Deployments

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Topics: Skype for Business

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