Google and Microsoft: Living together in harmony

Ray Glassmann and Jonathan Sapir
April 23, 2007

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Contents
Executive summary ........................................................................................................................................3 The problem ..................................................................................................................................................3 The solution: Google and Microsoft Integration ..............................................................................................5 Adds Web-based collaboration to MS Office .........................................................................................................6 Split an Excel Spreadsheet into Multiple Google Spreadsheets.........................................................................6 Using Excel to Solve the Google Spreadsheet Size Problem ..............................................................................7 Split a Word Document into Multiple Google Docs ...........................................................................................7 Multi-source Integration (Google/MS Word “Mashup”) ...................................................................................7 Using Word to Solve the Google Document Size Problem .................................................................................7 Introduce Integrated Workflow into Google and Microsoft ..................................................................................7 Calendar Integration...........................................................................................................................................8 Auto Notification ................................................................................................................................................9 Electronic Signature............................................................................................................................................9 Uses ....................................................................................................................................................................9 Solving the airplane problem .............................................................................................................................. 10 Bringing it all together ................................................................................................................................. 10 Google Gadget ..................................................................................................................................................... 11 Microsoft Explorer ............................................................................................................................................... 11 Conclusion ................................................................................................................................................... 12 Examples ..................................................................................................................................................... 13 Excel spreadsheet split into multiple Google spreadsheets................................................................................ 13 gSHARE Excel Dashboard..................................................................................................................................... 14 Composite Word Document ................................................................................................................................ 15 Composite Google Doc ........................................................................................................................................ 16

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This paper shows how any organization can take advantage of both Microsoft Office and Google Apps.

Executive summary
No, this paper does not suggest that Google and Microsoft should join hands and start singing Kumbaya. In fact, it’s their unique divergent competitive strategies that will add the most value to corporate enterprises in the years ahead. That is, if these divergent strategies are harmonized. This paper will illustrate how any organization, large or small, can take advantage of products from both Google and Microsoft to achieve the greatest productivity. This paper will describe how products developed by LimitNone, a Google Enterprise Partner, can be used to integrate Google and Microsoft applications to maximize the combined functionality, minimize cost, eliminate complexity and generate the highest level of return on your investment.

LimitNone’s gSHARE product maximizes the combined benefits.

The problem
Organizations today are being offered a choice – Google or Microsoft. There are pros and cons to both these solutions – so why wouldn't any organization simply take advantage of both? So the question is NOT: Do I choose Google or Microsoft? The question is: How do I integrate Google and Microsoft so I can get the best of both worlds? Let's start by looking at each offering in turn. Then we'll show how you can leverage both to great advantage – making the integrated solution greater than the sum of the parts. Here is the case for Microsoft: •
Microsoft provides rich functionality and hard copy publishing capability.

The problem is that there are pros and cons to Microsoft Office and Google Apps.

Hard copy publishing. Especially with Microsoft Office 2007, you can create beautiful documents with the click of a button. However, this capability may be much less important to some companies in today’s always-on world. If your ultimate goal is to publish a document, Microsoft is definitely the way to go … at least for the finished product. Macros. If you need some automated processing in a spreadsheet, you need Excel. But that doesn’t mean you can’t use another product to collect the data you need to present your finished results in a Microsoft document. Rich functionality. Pivot tables, conditional formatting, advanced business graphics are all examples of the rich functionality delivered by Microsoft Office. If this is what you need, Microsoft is the way to go. However, this does not preclude you from using other applications to disseminate, collaborate and consolidate the information prior to using Microsoft Office. www.LimitNone.com Page 3

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For multi-user applications, you can combine Microsoft Office with SharePoint to provide collaboration capabilities. Companies may support SharePoint in-house or they may select a hosting partner to provide the service. Either way, there are major disadvantages to this strategy.
Microsoft’s collaboration solution is complex, costly and often overkill.

The in-house disadvantages are obvious – the cost of hardware, software and services, not to mention “patch Tuesday” – every Tuesday forevermore. No SMB in their right mind would willingly subject themselves to installing and maintaining their own SharePoint implementation. There are also serious disadvantages with hosted SharePoint solutions – is the hosting company going to be around, can they scale on demand, how does disaster recovery operate, what is their minimum service level, etc.? I’ve never understand why companies are OK with using a SharePoint hosting service, but are otherwise freaked out about putting their data on the Web with a product like Google Apps. For many SMBs and even larger enterprises, SharePoint is like wielding a chainsaw when a nail file will suffice. And there will always be diehards (usually early “power users”) who just won’t give up their Office tools – because they can’t break the habit, really need the complex functionality, or are afraid of putting their data on the Web. (Tell anyone under 30 the last point and they’ll look at you like you’ve lost your marbles. To them, that’s like saying that you don’t want to put your money in the bank – a realistic fear during the Great Depression of the 1930’s, but a rather outmoded idea today). Here is an overview of Google Apps and its benefits:

There will always be a percentage of users that will need the functionality Microsoft provides.

Google provides excellent collaboration capabilities.

Google’s main strength is building products from the ground up to provide services on the Web. This is helped by the fact that Google is free from the standalone, desktop productivity legacy that Microsoft will be bound to for a very long time. The Web’s many advantages are woven into every Google product. For instance, Google’s products are all built with collaboration in mind. This is not simply file sharing, it is collaboration with a purpose. Unlike earlier iterations of groupware, Google offers collaboration on-demand. By eliminating the need for setting up users and groups ahead of time (usually through an administrator), Google has implemented true on-demand collaboration. This is particularly important in today’s world, where there is as much collaboration being done outside the enterprise as there is inside the enterprise. To support this on-demand collaboration, the Google solution was designed to be infinitely scalable. Users will never have to be concerned with installations, backups, disaster recovery, or administration – you can just add and subtract users whenever you want. www.LimitNone.com Page 4

Google’s products are simple and easy-to-use.

Google’s products are inexpensive, infinitely scalable and highly reliable.

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But Google’s products do not have the in-depth functionality of Microsoft.

But there is (currently) a weakness in the applications Google has created, and that is their relative immaturity with regards to functional depth. Although they will continue to be enhanced over time, today’s functionality is only a subset of what Microsoft provides. Google is all about simplicity, and you can’t continue to be simple if you start adding bells and whistles all over the place. So, reaching Microsoft’s level of functionality is probably not going to happen any time soon – which is probably a good thing. Using the 80/20 rule, 80% of the time the bells and whistles are unnecessary – especially online. However, every organization also has to support the other 20%, which are usually very important, complex, strategic applications. The questions is, how do you provide your employees with the simplicity they need 80% of the time without removing the complex, functional depth they require 20% of the time? Finally, there is the “airplane” problem. While connecting to the Internet is becoming more and more ubiquitous each and every day, when you are on an airplane or an area without Internet service, you can’t access your Google documents.

There is also the problem of offline access to Google applications.

The solution: Google and Microsoft Integration
The solution is to utilize the strengths of both companies.

In an ideal world, you would be able to fully leverage the strengths of both Google and Microsoft and then extend them further so that the sum of the parts is greater than the parts alone. This is the foundation of LimitNone’s gSHARE set of tools.

gSHARE adds Google collaboration to Microsoft Office.

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gSHARE brings Google and Microsoft together in the following ways:

Adds Web-based collaboration to MS Office
A user can split an Excel spreadsheet into multiple Google spreadsheets.

The objective is to get Google and Microsoft to live together in harmony by taking the best from Google (collaboration) and marry it with the best of Microsoft (functional depth). Here is how gSHARE works: Split an Excel Spreadsheet into Multiple Google Spreadsheets • You can highlight any cells (contiguous or non-contiguous) in the Excel spreadsheet and export the cells to Google as a new Google spreadsheet. When exporting the cells, you can specify collaborators and viewers for the newly created spreadsheet. Collaborators and viewers are instantly notified via email. Once the Google spreadsheet(s) are updated, the Excel user can click an icon to synchronize Excel with Google to reflect the updates made in the Google spreadsheets as though they were manually entered inside Excel. Each Google-ized section of the original spreadsheet can have a different group of collaborators. Security is built-in to the fiber of the Google platform. Since Google is now integrated, gSHARE also stores your Excel spreadsheet online so it can be accessed from any machine connected to the Internet, provided that the appropriate Microsoft Office products are installed. As part of this service, gSHARE provides automatic backups, versioning and the ability to revert to a previous version for Excel documents on Google servers. To assist you in keeping track of complex spreadsheets with multiple subspreadsheets, gSHARE provides a Dashboard inside Excel. The Dashboard shows: the collaborators and viewers for each Google spreadsheet embedded in this Excel spreadsheet the date/time by which updates are scheduled to occur the last time each Google spreadsheet was synced in Excel the number of days prior to the scheduled update a reminder must be sent by the system When the name of a Google spreadsheet in the Dashboard is clicked, the system highlights the corresponding cells in the Excel spreadsheet. You can revert back and re-sync to a previous version of a Google spreadsheet.

After they have been updated by Google-based collaborators, the Google spreadsheets can be synchronized back into Excel.


A Dashboard helps the user track subspreadsheets, who has access to them, and when they were last updated.

Google versioning can be used so that spreadsheets can be rolled back to any previous point in time (the Excel spreadsheet as well as the Google spreadsheets).

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Cells that have changed following synchronization can be highlighted from a Dashboard option. Using Excel to Solve the Google Spreadsheet Size Problem A useful side effect of integrating Excel and Google Spreadsheets is that you can use Excel to build any size Google spreadsheets by using Excel as a framework for multiple Google spreadsheets. Split a Word Document into Multiple Google Docs • You can highlight any area of a Word document and export it to Google as a new Google doc. As in Excel, when exporting the document you can specify collaborators and viewers for the newly created doc. Once the Google docs are updated, you can click an icon to synchronize Word with Google to reflect the updates made in the Google docs as though they were manually entered inside Word. As with Excel, gSHARE also stores your Word documents online so it can be accessed from any machine connected to the Internet, provided that the appropriate Microsoft Office products are installed. gSHARE provides automatic backups, versioning and rollbacks for Word documents on Google servers.

The same technique is applied to Word documents.


Word documents can include Google spreadsheets and Google documents.

Multi-source Integration (Google/MS Word “Mashup”) • • You can pull multiple Google docs into Word. You can also pull multiple Google spreadsheets into Word.

gSHARE introduces simple but highly effective workflow using Microsoft and Google integration.

Using Word to Solve the Google Document Size Problem A useful side effect of integrating Word and Google Docs is that you can use Word to build a table of contents, and then generate multiple Google documents for each section. A Google document of the table of contents is also created, with each entry a hyperlink to the appropriate Google doc. You then have the choice of using Word to bring all the Google documents back together again, or publish the Google documents with an index - like a Web site with a navigation menu.

Introduce Integrated Workflow into Google and Microsoft
gSHARE can also introduce simple but effective workflow into this mixed environment. It provides functionality for assignment, notification and control. • You can notify collaborators when they are due to complete Google updates.

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Users can easily delegate and track collaboration requests.

• • •

You can schedule automatic email reminders to chase overdue updates. You can put tasks back in the queue if additional information is needed. You can access the Dashboard at any time to check the status of update requests via a comprehensive, real-time audit trail. You can create fully customized emails from inside Microsoft advising collaborators of things like: actions assigned to them, requests that have been closed, updates overdue or cancelled. You can add any kind of file attachments to collaboration requests. Collaborators can delegate required actions to a colleague (e.g. during vacations) simply by using a Gmail filter. Collaborators and groups are automatically available to Microsoft users from the users Gmail directory. On the other hand, collaborators can be anyone with an email address. This makes it much easier to collaborate on-the-fly with users external to the organization. In addition, these external users will have immediate access to Google Apps as well, meaning that they can create their own Google Docs and Spreadsheets if they want - useful if they want to use this as a method with which to collaborate with you. Workflow notifications are automatically mobile-enabled through Google. There is an automatic audit trail via RSS of any changes made to subsidiary documents. No additional server-side software is needed to accomplish all this.


The originator can update collaborator calendars with due dates and automatically send reminders.

• •

Email notification alerts and reminders ensure that progress never gets stalled.


Calendars are automatically updated.

Calendar Integration • When you specify collaboration, you get an option to select date/time when that the new spreadsheet must be updated. The system automatically sends an initiation email with the date/time to the collaborators, who can then click to update their calendar. The originator can optionally have their calendars automatically updated with the date/time the update is expected from this collaborator.


Everyone can be notified when changes have been made.

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Electronic signatures can be added.

Auto Notification Users can subscribe to an RSS feed or email notification so that they can be informed when a doc or spreadsheet has been updated. This would include changes in both Excel/Word and Google. Electronic Signature Workflow can optionally be extended to encompass electronic signatures. Integrated into the gSHARE Dashboard, it is easy for the user to see what is out for signature and what has been signed. This allows the users to control everything, including approval status, from a single point. Uses The types of uses for this kind of simple workflow are limitless. What makes it especially effective is the ability to easily customize what is required, using familiar, powerful tools.

There are many types of uses for this kind of simple workflow.

gSHARE combines simplicity with infinite flexibility using the joint power of Microsoft and Google Apps.

IT governance / COBIT / ITIL • • • • • Authorization management Configuration management Problem management Change management Service level management

Sales / CRM • • • • • • Sales projections Product specifications Proposal generation Customer care Product launch Product trial

Corporate services Sarbanes Oxley • • • Service request Change request Document routing and approval • • Real time procedure monitoring Complete Audit Trail

Build templates in Word and Excel and use Google to provide collaboration, notification, control, security, storage and audit trails.

Human resources • • • • New employee integration Performance reviews Applicant rating Templates for employee administration forms such as expense forms, vacation forms, job applications, sick leave forms, 360 degree surveys, exit surveys, etc.

HIPAA Administrative Safeguards Finance • • Purchase requisitions Procurement activities

Production • • Product specification Product Life Cycle Management

Accounts • © 2007 LimitNone, Inc. Sales reporting www.LimitNone.com

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• • •

Expense reports Contract lifecycle Product changes

Procurement • • • • Tender management Vendor response collection and consolidation Multiple vendor question and answer Automatic, detailed procurement history for compliance and retrieval purposes

ISO 17799 • • • • Risk Assessment and Treatment System Policy Asset Management Compliance

Project Management • • Project file and document collaboration Project status tracking Automatic reminders, escalations and alerts.

Users can work offline with Google docs and spreadsheets, then sync them back online later.

Solving the airplane problem
gSHARE makes it easy for users to work offline, and then synchronize when they come back online. • • • • Open Google docs and spreadsheet from within Excel and Word. Work globally and save locally. Automatically re-synchronize to the Google directory when you go back online. Receive warning messages and guidance if you used a function that will not translate back to Google. Receive a warning message if the doc or spreadsheet has been modified online since you downloaded it.

Work globally, save locally.

gSHARE provides 2 ways to manage the integration.

A Google Gadget Dashboard can be inserted in a Google Home Page or portal for online control.

Bringing it all together
So, how do we bring this all together in a manner that makes it easy for a user to find their “stuff” when they need it? For individual Excel spreadsheets, there is the Excel Dashboard. Beyond the single

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spreadsheet, there are two ways to organize Google/Microsoft integration:

Google Gadget
To manage and provide access to all your files and documents in a single place, gSHARE provides a Google Gadget that shows all your Excel and Word documents, the Google docs and spreadsheets they contain, who has access to them, when they were last updated, etc. (Google Gadgets are mini-applications that work with the Google homepage, as well as other portals).

Microsoft Explorer
An extension to Windows Explorer provides local control.

When on your PC, you can access your Google documents from Windows Explorer. The online Google Docs & Spreadsheets directory appears as an additional disk drive in Explorer:

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Using gSHARE as the bridge between Microsoft and Google offers organizations of all sizes the best of both worlds – functionality, collaboration, and integration.

Conclusion
Microsoft Office is not going away any time soon. The functional depth of Office will continue to provide power users with the ability to build complex spreadsheet applications and documents for publishing. On the other hand, the simplicity of Google Docs & Spreadsheets will thrive in building straightforward applications that require collaboration. For organizations that want the best of both worlds, gSHARE will be used to integrate Microsoft Office with Google Docs & Spreadsheets to create a “sharing point” between the offerings – eliminating the need for Microsoft SharePoint altogether and creating an atmosphere for maximum productivity.

Ray Glassmann is the co-founder and COO of LimitNone, Inc. As a serial entrepreneur, he was an early investor and an executive team member in several venture-backed startups including Easel Corporation, Powersoft Corporation and SilverStream Software. In his previous roles as VP of Worldwide Sales and VP of Business Development, he designed and implemented the innovative sales models and global marketing campaigns that enabled explosive revenue growth and contributed to three very successful IPOs and subsequent company acquisitions.

Jonathan Sapir is the co-founder and CTO of LimitNone, Inc. After spending many years at IBM as a systems engineer, he became a dedicated entrepreneur. He started and ran a highly profitable software consulting firm in Chicago for 13 years; he then founded, architected and recently sold a software product company that built an enterprise mashup tool; he is also currently the co-founder and CTO of National Warning Corporation. He is the author of many industry-related articles and a book on the future of IT (Igniting the Phoenix: A New Vision for IT).

LimitNone is a provider of enterprise training, professional services and strategic product additions for the Google Apps community. To learn more, visit us at www.limitnone.com or email info@limitnone.com.

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Examples
Excel spreadsheet split into multiple Google spreadsheets

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gSHARE Excel Dashboard

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Composite Word Document

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Composite Google Doc

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