Google is targeting the enterprise with its Chrome OS based laptop, the Google Chromebook. Google is now offering a Chromebook for Business subscription program starting at $28 a month, per user. Including with the subscription is the Chromebook hardware, the operating system, a suite of free productivity applications, and 24×7 support. This is a very interesting proposition considering that companies currently pay thousands of dollars per PC per year in costs related to leases, licenses, maintenance, upgrades, and downtime. Google proposes to drastically reduce this cost by being the sole provider for all services and support related to these low maintenance laptops.
But before you head over to the Chromebooks for Business and Education site to order a fleet of Chromebooks, you should take a moment to think about whether the Chromebook is right for your organization. Below are a few important points to consider when trying deciding if the Chromebook is right for your business.
Google Chromebooks may be a good idea for your business if some of the following is true:
- Your company leverages corporate web applications that can be accessed with the Google Chrome browser.
- Your productivity needs can be satisfied by online productivity suites such as Google Apps or Microsoft Office 365.
- You already have reliable and redundant networks available to minimize the chances of experiencing outages and downtime.
- You already have the infrastructure and personnel to support remote access applications.
Chromebooks may not be for your company if any of the following are true:
- Your organization relies heavily on desktop applications that require Microsoft Windows or Mac OS operating systems.
- Your remote users need to be able to work even when a network connection is not available.
- You don’t already have the infrastructure to support remote access applications. Thus, you will have to invest in the hardware, software, and personnel required to implement such a solution.
While I think Google is definitely on to something with its low cost, low maintenance laptop, these devices are definitely not for every organization. The cost savings and low maintenance requirements present a real big advantage, especially to small businesses. However, the heavy reliance upon internet connectivity and the incompatibility with popular desktop applications may make the Chromebook not an option for some firms. Are you considering Chromebooks for your company? What are your arguments for and against rolling out Chromebooks to your firm? Share your comments below or in the Tech Guru Blog Forum.