"Google for Work" – Reflecting the Shift in Work

This week Google has announced that it is re-branding Google Enterprise to Google for Work.

Just a simple name change? Just re-branding?

Perhaps Enterprise reflect something stodgy and old-fashioned since for Work reflects something more active (or whatever the marketing phrase might be)?

Here’s an example of press commentary from The Verge:

Enterprise is a boring word. Like, immediately-avert-your-eyes kind of boring. And it seems that Google has gotten the picture. Today it announced that Google Enterprise is bring renamed Google for Work, a much friendlier name that actually does a better job of describing what the product is — a series of tools for, you know, work, rather than whatever a nebulous enterprise is.

Organisations tend to re-brand for a reason, and the reason behind the Google for Work re-branding is that work has changed and is changing.

Here’s an extract from the Telegraph:

The move, part of a new focus on its business offering, is a reaction against the “enterprise” tag, which has become synonymous with slow-moving, outdated technology.

“Google for Work covers not just traditional business but also skills and education. Enterprise alone doesn’t fit these different communities,” Thomas Davies, head of Google for Work in Northern Europe, told the Telegraph.

“The time of ‘enterprise technology’ is in the past. This is a statement to the market. The term ‘enterprise’ will not be relevant within the next two years.

According to Mr Davies, a “consumerisation” of technology has been taking place in the workplace over the last 10 years.

Eric Schmidt said it like this in the official announcement:

Work today is very different from 10 years ago. Cloud computing, once a new idea, is abundantly available, and collaboration is possible across offices, cities, countries and continents. Ideas can go from prototype to development to launch in a matter of days. Working from a computer, tablet or phone is no longer just a trend—it’s a reality. And millions of companies, large and small, have turned to Google’s products to help them launch, build and transform their businesses, and help their employees work the way they live. In other words, work is already better than it used to be.

There are a number of posts on this site about how the world of work is changing and this change in the market is what Google is reflecting:

In this last of that sample of articles I highlighted a set of UK statistics that clearly demonstrated a massive shift from large organisations to small organisations and sole traders. People within large organisations are working differently also, using Outside-In approaches to getting work done.

PWC describe the reshaping of the working environment as three worlds:

  • Blue World – Corporate is king
  • Green World – Companies care
  • Orange World – Small is beautiful

Each of these worlds provides a lens through which to see the changes. In the Orange World this is what is happening:

In the Orange World organisations fragment into looser networks of autonomous, often specialised operations. Technology helps to bring these networks together, often on a task-by-task basis, with social media heightening the connectivity upon which this world depends.

Supply chains are built from complex, organic associations of specialist providers, varying greatly from region to region and market to market. Looser, less tightly regulated clusters of companies are seen to work more effectively than their larger and potentially more unwieldy counterparts.

These Orange World organisations (and Green World) work in dramatically different ways to current Blue World organisations and there are going to be many-many more of them in the future. That is what Google mean when they say “The term ‘enterprise’ will not be relevant within the next two years” and that is why it’s now Google for Work.

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