Google Apps Gets Enterprise Partner

Google Apps, Google service for running corporate email, calendaring and documents, has gotten a new partner in the form of Capgemini, a major systems consulting firm. Capgemini will incorporate Google Apps into its outsourcing service, which currently manages over a million corporate desktop PCs. The goal of the partnership is to bring Apps into larger companies, past just the educational and small business clients the service currently enjoys.

Regarding the big question, if Google Apps is even ready for big companies,
Nick Carr got an interesting answer from Capgemini outsourcing exec Steve Jones:

I asked Jones about the commonly heard claim that Google Apps, while fine for little organizations, isn’t “enterprise-ready.” He scoffed at the notion, saying that the objection is just a smokescreen that some CIOs are “hiding behind.” Google Apps, he says, is “already being used covertly” in big companies, behind the backs of IT staffers. The time has come, he argues, to bring Apps into the mainstream of IT management in order to ensure that important data is safeguarded and compliance requirements are met. Jones foresees “a lot of big companies” announcing the formal adoption of Apps.

They go on to say that Apps will be marketed as a complement to Microsoft Office, but that it should prove a good idea for employees who the company can’t afford to give copies of Office. Both are interesting arguments, but here’s a counter:

Yes, some employees are using Gmail behind the scenes instead of their corporate email, but plenty are using Hotmail or Yahoo Mail. Employees are always going to have personal webmail accounts in addition to their corporate accounts, and it proves no trend.

If the arguments goes beyond that, that employees are collaborating in secret with Google Docs, as surprising as that may be, it wouldn’t surprise me if plenty of those employees are also using OpenOffice. In fact, It would surprise me even less if stats backed up this hypothesis: More outsourced employees, without licensed copies of Microsoft Office, are pirating Office than using a free alternative.

I’ve long argued that at $50 per user per year, Apps is either barely cheaper than Microsoft Office, or actually more expensive as that subscription fee adds up. This decision can’t be made on a purely financial basis, but has to be won on features.

Both Carr and
TechCrunch point out the obvious problems with accounting under current U.S. law, and the fact that no new customers were being announced with this news. Supposedly a big telco is going to announce a switch to Google Apps on some of its computers, so we’ll have to wait and see.