A conversation I had yesterday has me thinking, "why has Google become my personal go-to for software and services over Microsoft?" I'm not a fan-boy, I just feel the GA tools out perform M$. Why is that?
I think the answer is low-friction. Google puts a high priority on reducing friction on interactions and transactions. Reduced friction is considered more important than a new feature or locking in customers.
I've seen this since Google search vs. Yahoo search and Hotmail vs. Gmail. Google works to reduce friction between you and your desired outcomes and Microsoft focuses on increasing feature burden and customer lock-in. It shows up in their products, licensing, and services.
Once, a few years ago, I saw this reduction in friction very clearly when we moved a client from Outlook/Zimbra (Zimbra is a drop-in replacement for Exchange) with a Barracuda spam filter to pure Google Apps. Management committed to full-web implementation and death to Outlook, even though some people LIVED
in Outlook. This was based on a recommendation by some consultants we had brought in to help with the details of the migration. The idea was that everyone had to fully immerse in GA, web interface and all, to see all the benefits. There were only about 100 email accounts, but people lived and breathed email and it was the life blood of the organization, so this was a really big deal.
Before the migration, tech support averaged about 20 email-related issues per week. The issues had to do with everything from problems syncing large message stores (about 10 users had 25GB+ of email saved), to connection issues, to spam, to user questions, and to Outlook fails/lock-ups. This wasn't a sloppy implementation, it was really dialed-in and monitored.
We did the migration and, within just a few weeks, email issues dropped to 5 per MONTH
. That is a drop of almost 95%! Users were no longer prevented from doing what they wanted to do 75 times per month!
The client saw reduced issues (time) spent on supporting
email, which is great and meant tech support could be more proactive in other areas, but the real business benefit was that all those issues were indicators of friction
users were feeling in a mission critical system. Eliminating that friction was huge!
"Reduced friction" is Google's secret sauce that draws me to their tools. This is one of the reasons Apple has lots of fans because, "it all just works together". That's what Google is working for across all its platforms, not just with end user tools.
This is also something we are building into our custom software development and operations processes. We can't perfect everything at our scale (we typically build apps for 50 users, not 1 billion), but we can certainly factor it into our client relationships,project management processes, development processes, and our software. Sounds pretty slick, to me.