Capgemini and Google Inc. have joined to offer the search company's Web-based office suite, Google Apps Premier Edition, for large corporations.
Premier Edition, which is delivered as a software as a service (SaaS) over the Internet via a Web browser, includes Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail and Google Calendar.
Google Apps "provides powerful collaboration and communication applications" for US$50 per user per year, consulting and outsourcing firm Capgemini said in a statement.
Capgemini will provide service and support for Google Apps and will be able to customize everything down to an individual user's desktop, said Steve Jones, head of SOA, Capgemini Global Outsourcing.
"This is not a one-size-fits-all," Jones said. "It's desktop couture."
While Google and Capgemini said they're not aiming to knock Microsoft off its perch as the dominant office software, they plan to make enough major inroads in the short term to have Microsoft looking over its shoulder.
By delivering and supporting Google Apps as a SaaS desktop tool for large-scale companies, Capgemini is addressing a significant gap in the marketplace, Jones said.
In addition, Jones said the Capgemini/Google partnership provides an affordable, reliable product for real-time collaboration without boundaries. That includes mobile workers, partners and other user groups not currently served by traditional, thick-client desktop applications. Capgemini is ideally positioned to extend the value of Google Apps into large-scale, global companies, Jones said.
"Large enterprises benefit from relationships we've established with systems integrators, consultants and vendors who can respond with advice, guidance and complementary products that meet industry-specific needs," said Kevin Smith, head of enterprise partnerships at Google, in an e-mail. "Capgemini, with its global presence and trusted adviser status within the enterprise, is a great fit to assist and guide our larger Google Apps Premier Edition customers as a Google Enterprise Professional partner."
The announcement comes two weeks after release of a Burton Group report that said Google Apps offers a lot of value for customers but lacks strong regulatory compliance features and has poor administrative tools for user accounts.
While Jones admitted the companies were blindsided by the report, he added that Capgemini knows how to introduce the applications to provide the best value for its customers.
Two industry analysts viewed the announcement positively.