• January 1, 2009
  • By David Myron, Editorial Director, CRM and Speech Technology magazines and SmartCustomerService.com

Hey! You! Get Onto My Cloud!

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Microsoft has known for years that the company that owns the platform owns the customer. But the software giant better be careful: The Internet has emerged as the new platform, with a well-established leader. Google, the king of search, has become such a significant part of our everyday lives that we even use the company’s name as a verb in our lexicon. If you want to find information on your favorite celebrity, band, or gadget, you simply “google it.” (Google itself frowns on that, as an infringement of its trademark, but the continued use just proves the company’s not all-powerful.)

Google doesn’t want its name to be only synonymous with search. The company has already developed Gmail and Google Apps—free office productivity cloud-computing applications that include word-processing, spreadsheet, and presentation functions.

I had been a casual Gmail user for years—happy to have it, but never relying on it as my main email application. For nearly my entire professional career I had been comfortable using Microsoft Outlook for email. However, as the publishing industry—and, more specifically, my production department—uses Macs, I had to make the transition a couple of years ago. My Mac laptop came equipped with an Outlook equivalent—Microsoft Entourage. It worked well, offering me similar Outlook functionality, and synced my contact and calendar information with my Palm Treo 700p smartphone. I felt pretty comfortable with Entourage, until it crashed in March of last year.

I learned the hard way that Microsoft Entourage has a two-gigabyte storage capacity and automatically corrupts all emails once this capacity is reached. My IT support guy suggested recovering the emails by purchasing and installing EntourAid (an email recovery application for Entourage). I did, but it only recovered a small percentage of my emails. So, essentially, I got hosed.

You may ask, “Who on earth needs two gigabytes of storage for email?” Well, I do. I run two magazines and regularly receive large files for both publications. I also like that I can search my email for contact information and important documents.

After the application crashed, I figured I’d keep an eye on my email storage to make sure it never approached the limit again. That worked until the summer, when Entourage greeted me with a different error code—and crashed again. Fed up, I contacted my IT support guy, who suggested I switch to Mac Mail. Even though this email app doesn’t offer many of the useful bells and whistles found in Entourage, he assured me it was more reliable. So I switched.

Mac Mail did an adequate job for a couple of months, until a colleague using Gmail had trouble opening attachments from me. I reported the problem to my IT support guy, who revealed that he uses Gmail as his professional email application. I was stunned. I figured that I was doing what I was supposed to do by using the applications my company provided me.

That was all I needed to hear. Now I use Gmail to view my work email and am happy to know I have more than 7 gigabytes of storage capacity. What’s more, the CRM editorial staff is using Google Docs to collaborate on various projects. Instead of updating files via email, each project has one continuously up-to-date document viewable by all. It’s CRM at its core.

Our cover story, “The Google-ization of CRM," by Editorial Assistant Lauren McKay, bears this out. While Google hasn’t explicitly stated that it’s in the CRM game, it is by default.

David Myron
Editorial Director

dmyron@infotoday.com

Every month, CRM magazine covers the customer relationship management industry and beyond. To subscribe, please visit http://www.destinationcrm.com/subscribe/.

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