In a very unusual step Google has revealed how they plan to “Eat Microsoft’s Lunch”. For someone like me who hasn’t really used MSFT products for many years this doesn’t mean much. Or does it? Lets take a closer look at the exclusive Business Insider article that reveals the details. What can we learn from Google’s strategy and implement in our own business strategy?
The article details a 7 step plan. The first step is:
Step 1: Make sure that the apps Google offers have “85-90% of the functionality” of Office.
Notice that Google is not trying to be as good or better than Microsoft, “85-90% of the functionality” is enough. Many times app developers get bogged down in beating the competition on features, instead of concentrating on the features that customers actually use and want. The extra 10-15% are much more time consuming, complicated to implement and eat up tremendous time in customer support. When we started to plan a year ago how we want to reboot the Hosted PBX market, one of the first things we noticed was that the main competition is on features, on some websites there was so many features that it was very easy for the potential customer to get lost, very quickly.
Step 2: Don’t worry about the remaining 10-15% of the features required by power users, particularly Excel.
Yep, you can do insane stuff with Excel, but only about 10% of users actually use these features. Google is at war. Like in a real war, you don’t worry about the peripheral units, your main priority is to defeat the main army. Once it is clear who is the victor you can take care of the rest.
Step 3: Support Office documents as a “first-class citizen.”
Customers have invested years and piles of money in their legacy system. When you build a new one make sure that they can take advantage of their investment. In the SMB Telephony market where we play, that means making sure that customers can easily transfer their phone numbers to your new system without losing a call.
Step 4 (and this is the brilliant part): Don’t try and convince enterprises to convert from Microsoft Office to Google Apps.
Companies have a long term commitment to Microsoft both emotional and financial. Google is coming in and saying – try us with no commitment and pay just for your usage. Their rationale is that once customers try it out they will love the functionality and the savings. In the competitive application market we just want to get customers to try our product and hopefully fall in love with it. Payments and commitments raise too much friction. Remember the customer is probably already using something and is happy with it. They need a very good reason to leave the old product and move to yours. That is why at fone.do we plan to let the customer start out on our service with “zero friction”.
Step 5: Teach them to become power users.
As customers use your system and get to love it, let those who want to become “power users”. Remember Google services are in the cloud, they know who uses what and can offer enhanced services to those who really value them. When you deploy an application you eventually want to sell customers premium services. This is the way to do it.
Step 6: Get new customers hooked on products other than Apps
To go back to the war metaphor. Once you build the beachhead and consolidate your hold, it is time to reach out and enhance your position with complimentary products and services. In our business which is really boring (heck it is a telephone service), we plan to offer additional SMB services once we build our beachhead!
Step 7: Show them how Google’s cloud helps mobile workers.
Singh (president of Google for Work) thinks that mobile devices and apps will soon replace PCs altogether for a lot more employees.
“Consumers are mostly on their phones now. I think that will come to work,” he predicts, which is why his team is making sure that Android is “a first-class citizen, secure, manageable, etc.” for companies.
We are in a new world. Services have to be consistent and available. On all devices. Anywhere. No one is better at that than Google with so many years working on “The Cloud”. Nowhere does this rule ring stronger than in Telephone Services. A Telephone used to mean a desk phone. Today your business phone can be your desk phone, your mobile, a softphone on your computer or an app on your smartphone. Functionality has to be equally effective on all platforms. I can’t wait to show you how we are implementing this at fone.do. If you are interested in learning more join our email list at fone.do
The original Business Insider article appeared at http://www.businessinsider.com/google-plan-to-beat-microsoft-office-2015-2