Mountain View, Calif.-based Google brought its A game to its suite of productivity and collaboration products when they were launched all those years ago. Google Apps and Google for Work are undeniably intuitive and easy to use.
But as Google continued to build out this suite, improving on its own features and encouraging third-parties vendors to develop complementary products, some of the users were getting lost. Or perhaps better put, some of the users were not adopting Google's products as quickly as these companies — and most certainly Google — would have liked.
Enter Synergyse, a Chrome extension built on the Google Cloud platform (which among other things means easy and frequent updates) that lives in the Google Apps interface and is a virtual guide to Google Apps. Google announced this week it has acquired it for an undisclosed cost.
A Lively Addition to Google Apps
As virtual guides go, Synergyse’s advanced features will make it a lively addition to the Google Apps ecosystem.
It has voice and text interactive modules that can be searched by topic within the apps. It is also routinely updated to bring users up to speed on the new features that are regularly added to the mix.
Now here's the money stat for Google: Organizations that use Synergyse see on average 35 percent higher adoption across Apps products, Peter Scocimara, senior director of Google Apps Operations said in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
"As more businesses sign up, we wanted an elegant way to scale our training offerings to our customers and our customers" users," according to Scocimara. "That is why we’re happy to announce Synergyse will be joining Google, and we intend to make the product available as an integral part of the Google Apps offering later this year," he said.
"In the meantime, existing customers will continue to have access, and new customers will be able to download the Chrome extension for free while the integration is underway."
Digging into Enterprise Adoption
It’s a telling sign that Google is incorporating Synergies into Apps. Google has made it clear that it wants to eat Office 365's lunch to compete with Office 365.
And as it goes up against Microsoft, it does so having the advantage of a user base that is predisposed to moving to the cloud. Studies of companies that are adopting Google App users versus Office 365 have found this to be so, and they have also found that these users are more inclined to adopt other software-as-a-service applications as well.
A recent study by New York City-based BetterCloud found that an overwhelming 91 percent of Google Apps users say SaaS applications help them succeed more than desktop alternatives, compared to 68 percent of Office 365 users that report SaaS applications make them more successful than their desktop alternatives.
Google Apps users are spending far more time using SaaS applications, spending 80 percent of technology-related productivity time working with SaaS applications, compared to 33 percent by their Office 365 counterparts. Finally, BetterCloud also found that on an average day, Google Apps users interact with five SaaS applications, while Office 365 users interact with three.
Now here's another money stat for Google, courtesy of BetterCloud: More than a third, or 35 percent, of Office 365 users say their organizations adopted Office 365 within the last year. Just 13 percent of Google Apps users say the same.
In other words, Office 365 adoption is picking up steam.
A Reluctance to Spend on Training Applications
Enter, as we said, Synergyse.
Not all companies want to invest in a training solution as they adopt an SaaS application, Taylor Gould, vice president of Marketing for BetterCloud, told CMSWire.
"Training solutions often experience more churn than a typical SaaS product, because organization's typically have more of a need for the solution during the migration process, and may want to reduce their expense significantly after the first year, once the majority of their employees understand the basics of using the new software — Google Apps in this case," he said.
"So, the economics of offering a SaaS training solution can be tough."
Singing the Praises of Synergyse
To be sure, there are also a lot of free and/or less expensive solutions that offer similar content, Gould said — citing, helpfully, BetterCloud Monitor as one example. Gould, though, is very admiring of Synergyse. "It really differentiates its offering through the in-context delivery of that content," he said.
Indeed, Gould has heard first hand how well Synergyse works. “We share some customers and their customers do seem to love their product."
"It offers excellent technical functionality that brings training into the actual Google Apps interface — for example, it shows you exactly how to send an email in Gmail. This can be a great way to teach new users how to use Google Apps."
Which, of course, is the whole point.