A fantastic example of “2.0” success.
I’ll not explain here why I think that google docs is a very good solution for business, I’ll do it another day.
I’ll also not discussed the comparison of functionalities between Google docs and Microsoft office applications : today there’s a gap, as even Google highlighted it.
What I want to focus on is the 2 key improvements that need to be implemented before more companies can use it.
2 functionalities that make the whole thing not usable in a business context.
If you propose users to switch to cloud applications, their 2 mains concerns are :
- Where are my datas ? How to be sure that nobody can access them ?
- What happen if the network is down ? We cannot work anymore ?
1- Security, confidentiality of datas.
For my personnal use, I do not really care about confidentiality of my datas. I do not share confidential stuff. If someone access it, I do not really care.
For company datas it’s totally different. Company datas are confidential : products, sales numbers, people names, …
Today, there’s no real commitment of Google on this point.
This statement that can be found here is really very vague.
“Rest assured that your documents, spreadsheet, and presentations will remain private unlless…”
I’m sure this commitment is not enough for a company to make the decision to switch to Google docs.
2- Offline mode
Google docs uses “gears” to provide offline mode.
The functionalities provided are OK for email : you can still access the mailbox, read, write emails that will be sent as soon as network comes back.
Even on a poor network that is cut quite often, this is not an issue.
For the other applications, the story is different.
With spreadsheet, you can only read the documents, but no changes are possible. This is a big issue.
In my opinion, especially for travelers, it’s not acceptable to have such poor functionalities in offline mode.
According to some people, html5 that will be used in next releases of Google apps will solve it and offer a higher level of functionalities. We need it.
Every day, I receive around 50-100 emails in my inbox.
Planet Google: One Company’s Audacious Plan to Organize Everything We Know by Randall Stross
Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything by Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr
The Ten Faces of Innovation: IDEO’s Strategies for Defeating the Devil’s Advocate and Driving Creativity Throughout Your Organization by Thomas Kelley and Jonathan Littman
On June 4th, 1996, the first Ariane 5,the European Rocket was destroyed by its automated self-destruct system 37 seconds after launch
The root cause of this destruction was a software bug on the navigation system that had been re used from Ariane 4 and not tested enough…
The bug report is available online, his reading is very instructive.
You can find it here.
You can also read the good article in wikipedia.
This is true for everything in life: if the start is not good… you’ll have to fight to come back in good shape, and maybe it will not be possible.
For a project, this is especially true.
The cause of many project failures can be traced back to the early days of the project.
Before the start of the project, it’s easy to think. After, when the project is launched, it’s a lot more difficult, because you will have to run the project.
To be efficient when you run the project, and be able to think, see the issues, the project has to be clear.
When the project starts, everything is possible :
- what will be the deadline?
- what will be the deliverables?
- what will be the methodology used?
- who will be on the team?
Of course, some of them have constraints, but, before the project starts, you can change them, or at least try to change them. If you cannot change them… you still can organize the project to meet them.
For example, if the deadline is very aggressive, what I always do is :
- Understand why. What will be the impact to release later?
- Propose pre deliverables or other solutions to answer the need as soon as possible, and take time to build the full solution. Sometimes, it’s even possible to prose a pre-version that will meet 80% of the requirements, before the need date…
- Put in place the good organization to achieve it (need more people ? more money ? …)
If you don’t take the time to review it and start the project with an impossible deadline, you’ll fail, waste money, and energy…