Google Apps LogoSometimes I look back and realize I’m not very bright.

I should have recognized patterns far earlier than I did. Coming to grips with the opportunities that Google Apps presents is one of those things that makes me feel like I’m blind. I became a little less near-sighted when I recently visited colleagues Dawson Roark and Joe Schram [credit to Joe for naming this blurred vision New Frontier – more about that another time].

Why didn’t I see this coming three or four years earlier? Was I so busy living in the moment that the world of business computing had profoundly shifted gears without even the slightest hint of a tremor? And all without ringing a single bell in my slightly aged brain?

Indeed, I missed it. I was preoccupied, more accurately – I suffered a level of techno-distraction from that which I perceived to be the true shifts in computing.

I was too busy with social media, web services and security trends with best of breed bizmeths that helped me “close the gap” on granular, hyperlocal, long-tail holistic “cat herding” bullshit to help my clients “right-shore” mission critical, new economy “low hanging fruit” that eliminate pain points that were discovered in a deep dive “peel back the onion” exercise to reveal a “boiling ocean” of paradigms “outside the box” — blah, blah, blah. I took a fucking shower, rinsed off the slime, sketched a simple diagram and realized what a dumb ass I’ve been.

The future of business computing was simple, and I was already doing it and doing it really well.

Every five minutes, in a far away place, an army of servers spring into action. Intelligently they analyze email messages, correlate content with data tables, and perform a series of automated tasks … a veritable three ring circus of information acrobatics — all for me — just me.

And the tasks are both varied in nature and integrate across a wide array of information systems and services. This is a framework of business solutions designed and implemented by me for one purpose – my own self interests.

This is the underbelly of Google Docs driven by GAS (Google Apps Scripts) and fortified with dozens of platform services that can be snapped together like Lego® blocks. It’s a realm that few business people know about. And oddly enough, it’s not even what makes Google Docs increasingly more attractive than decades-old Microsoft Office.

Many of the business people I’ve interviewed about Google Docs, and some who have become clients, believe that the primary attractor to Google Docs is its near-free price and relatively good performance as an office suite fully unbound from the desktop. They couldn’t be more right and more wrong at the same time.

What few realize is that the promise of lower cost and a robust cloud-centric availability are just a couple of the faint stars in a broad and far reaching constellation of technology designed to revolutionize the way we compute for personal and business advantage. In total, Google Docs, and all things connected to it, are capable of challenging the fundamental relationships we need to perform computational tasks for business or pleasure.

The growing constellation of interconnected services loosely bound by a common and easily understood scripting model, has little to do with the growing desire for businesses to escape from Microsoft Office. But it has everything to do with sustaining the appetite for businesses that take advantage of the hidden side of Google Docs.

Google Docs is a label that is so misleading and under appreciative of its true nature, that describing it in accurate terms requires extended discussions with fine beverages and deep exploration, although, not necessarily in that order.

By using Drive and Docs and a small fraction of its scripting capabilities for a variety of enterprise-grade data visualization, automation, and reporting solutions, I think I’ve unearthed the incentives that have triggered a tsunami of [sustained] defections from Microsoft Office.

And by now you’re asking yourself – what does any of this have to do with iPads in the enterprise? It’s my observation that everything Google Apps impacts mobile computing, ergo, iPad is dead center of the discussion. This may seem like a thin argument today, but it will become clear in Part Three – The Orchestra.

Beyond reasoned abandonment of Office and adoption of Google Docs, is the broad blue ocean of opportunities that Google Docs provides and which largely goes unnoticed by new adopters until they are enlightened. It’s an ocean of possibilities that have few boundaries – and it’s lying there waiting to be exploited by all who might wade in and dream just a little.

Part One: The Realization is simply the introduction of a seven part series exposing my own enlightenment and observations about Google Docs, Drive, and all of the services that form the connective tissue for doing things different, simpler, and more efficient.

If you have success stories where Google Apps is central to your own solutions, please drop me a note; I’d love to hear about your successes (or failures). And be sure to watch for Part Two – The Hidden Side of Everything Google Apps.