In the middle of June, Google announced a re-haul of its Sites feature. Overlooked by all but the dedicated of Googlites, Site and its workflow support is integrating with their wholesale new Springboard system.
Similar to Microsoft’s Sway and Office’s Delve feature, Sprinboard Googles strongest assets first. Features such as Search capability, integrated with what was once many disparate Google platforms. From Google’s perspective, this is a key opportunity to improve the workflow of startups and enterprises and on a scale that no other program can match.
Where Enterprises are Concerned, Integration is Key
Where many fresh startups tend to fall prey to the worst habits of is technical staff. Documentation, workflow, and project management look less like assets to a startup and yes, even tedious obligations that simply keep a project on track.
It doesn’t help that, in a given work week, a knowledge worker is likely to spend a full 8 hours of their time simply searching for resources, rather than putting them to good use.
Larger enterprises can rely on dedicated knowledge workers to control that workflow and keep resources organized and on-hand. Smaller ventures often have to choose between meeting milestones on time, or staying consistently accountable on every step of a project.
Where Springboard Steps In
Google’s Springboard system proposes to change how we look at integration and organization, as it functions like a “Smart AI” that searches on behalf of all your Google-compliant platforms, such as Sites, Documents, Drive, or Mail, to find relevant resources in real-time. This is similar function to the above Delve, but on a much wider scale and using a much more functional framework in the form of Google’s tight and logical Search network.
By working with Springboard, suggestions and pointers to resources or relevant information as displayed as work is being done, removing both the user’s consideration of what resources they have, but also what ones they will need.
Who’s Going to Make the Biggest Use of Springboard?
While still in a preliminary test phase with limited release, Springboard is probably Google’s first earnest outreach to small enterprises to start using their productivity-friendly platforms as a crutch where larger businesses would have dedicated staff.
Of course, adoption of Google products among IT ventures is sporadic at best, given the growing pains of Drive integration over the last few years and few other ready-made resources that businesses can really capitalize on (AdWords as one notable exception.)
For businesses operating on a low budget with weak or developing project infrastructure, the productivity aid is more than worth the cost of switching platforms. Startups with their own systems of resource management may find, however, that Google’s platforms just don’t offer the same home-grown flexibility that a dedicated system can provide. Springboard is novel concept for integrating Google platforms, but it’s the value of using Google platforms in the first place that should be the primary decision maker-or-breaker for smaller startups.
Google’s reputation of providing ready-made, albeit testy systems for the small and medium are well known, and Springboard could usher in a new value in using Google products in the workplace. It remains to see, however, if their other platforms will make the switch over to Google a worthwhile change to make.