When you are starting up your business one critical decision is to choose various services and service providers carefully. You want to work with those who provide you an affordable service and at the same time allow for growth as your business grows. You don't want to be dependent on a service provider who can turn away tomorrow and leave you in the middle of a service outage. One critical service for your business is your email. Our good friends at Google have created a service which not only provides you emails but a lot more.
We have all seen the powerful spam control and interface of Google Emails while using our personal email addresses. Now you can get the same power and useful interface at your domain name.
Also, included is the powerful calendar which can be shared with someone or everyone in your organisation and allows for collaboration in an efficient and managed way.
Another important feature of Google Apps is document management and sharing using Google Docs. You can not only create and share documents but spreadsheets, presentations and the latest addition are drawings. So, working together on a proposal or business plan is not only easier but without the hassle of passing on and managing different versions of files.
The other added features are instant messaging and voice chats with other users in your domain using GTalk. Having collaboration based sites using Google Sites.
Also, important for many business users is that Google Apps are fully compatible with your latest phones so that you can get email and calendar updates pushed to your phone/blackberry or iPhone. It also works with any of the email clients e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Windows Email, Thunderbird etc. And if you are out and about without your laptop you can always use the web interface to access all the services (including emails, calendars etc.)
All this comes for free in the standard edition of Google Apps which is restricted to 50 users, if you want more than 50 users there is enterprise edition which gives you secure Video hosting for your domain.