We have a cloud product which has many different apps within that. The apps can be accessed using the app launcher in the UI (Think of it like Google Apps or Office 365). Each app has unique features and has different use cases. However, the target user group is same for all the apps.
We have our own design guide and it has styles for the most common UI components.
I am putting together a design for a new app in the product, in which I wanted to try out a different layout while absolutely conforming to the design guide on the visual elements except for the layout. Because we wanted to make the app modal-less and also felt that not to waste the real estate on the left sidebar for just 4 menu items. Instead, we have iconified the menu items (with labels) and have shrunk the left sidebar and introduced a right pane to view more details/add/edit details etc., Thus avoided modals/popups. The stakeholders are happy.
However, there's a debate in the organization that the layout should be consistent across the product. My argument is that each app (within the product) can have a different layout depending on the nature of the application and most importantly for ease of use. Case in point, I am referring to Google apps and Office 365. Google apps have used different layouts for different apps while they are in line with Material design guidelines. Likewise, Office 365.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree with my views? Do you know or have you come across any other apps that you can refer?
When I refer to Google Apps, I mean these, not just Google docs and sheets...the entire suite. YouTube, Maps, Drive, G+ etc. They all look entirely different in terms of look and feel (while adhering to Material Design Guidelines) but still carries the Google brand, isn't it?