Today, over five million businesses are now using Google Apps to help their employees collaborate and connect via the cloud. In just a few years, the adoption of Google’s productivity suite has skyrocketed and, while small businesses have long been its core customer, adoption up the chain is increasing as well. At the same time, as the Google Apps ecosystem continues to expand and evolve, with new services emerging around Chromebooks, Vault, Drive and Android, it can be tough for businesses to keep up with all the new tools, tweaks and iterations.
Synergyse, a Toronto-based startup, is launching today to help businesses keep up with changes to Google’s litany of web-based software services and provide an interactive training system to get employees up to speed. In principle, Synergyse has a similar goal to services like BetterCloud, which also aim to make it easy for businesses to move to and get the most out of Google Apps. However, while BetterCloud offers training videos to help employees learn how to use the productivity suite, the service caters more to Google Apps admins, allowing them to manage domains, reporting, security and compliance.
Synergyse, on the other hand, focuses purely on the educational element, offering an interactive and scalable training system for employees. The startup’s training platform covers Gmail, GCal and Drive at launch, with more to come soon, offering access to training directly inside each application. Other than a few players like BetterCloud and “how-to” videos littered across YouTube, Synergyse co-founder Varun Malhotra tells us that he thinks training has been largely absent from the Google Apps ecosystem.
On Main Street, most businesses have no idea what the latest features are that Google does or doesn’t offer, so the team set out to develop a training system that is accessible to the Average Joe, regardless of technical proficiency.
Malhotra says that Synergyse works for each of the major versions of Google Apps, for Businesses, Schools and consumers and, because it’s a Chrome extension and built on top of Google’s Cloud Platform, Synergyse is able to integrate its training system more effectively throughout the Google ecosystem, while offering security and scalability. Or at least that’s the idea.
Furthermore, Synergyse hopes to appeal to businesses by offering training from directly inside of Google Apps so that you don’t have to leave an application to learn how to use it and can take actions at the same time. The system is available to users at any time, so employees can learn at their own pace and roll through training sessions whenever they have time. For its tutorials, the startup actually doesn’t use video, the founder says, instead living inside your Google Apps account, overlaying instruction on your screen as you go, prompting people to click through Apps and input actual info from within their Gmail accounts.
Malhotra also tells us that the startup wants to make sure that users don’t have to deal with constant updates and downloads, so as new products and tools are added to Google’s productivity suite, the system updates alongside it, automatically adding new training materials to the apps. Once teams have started using the extension, execs and admins can also tap into reporting options to help track and measure the success of the training system for their employees.
The catalog of lessons were designed by Synergyse CTO Majid Manzarpour, who was “responsible for training Canada how to use Google Apps,” while working at Google as its “sole IT contact for the entire Canadian region” beginning in 2007, he says. In other words, he knows what he’s doing, and, because they’re Canadian, the tutorials are friendly. Two of the three co-founders are former Google engineers. So there’s that, too.
Synergyse pricing starts at $10/year for individuals, is free for students and costs businesses $10/employee/year. It also offers an Enterprise option for companies with more than 5,000 employees, with price set on a case-by-case basis.
For more, find the startup at home here.