Google boosts enterprise Apps with support from Capgemini

The search company teams with Capgemini to provide big companies with service, support for the Web-based office suite

Ray Wang, an analyst at Forrester Research, said he believed Google Apps was ready for use in the enterprise.

"Given the number of consumers who've battle-tested Google Apps, and having Capgemini engaged in providing the right level of assurances to enterprises, I would say Google Apps is ready for prime time," Wang said in an e-mail. "And Capgemini brings credibility and assurance to the enterprise market for Google Apps. Google Apps provides a new platform and Web 2.0 offering to Capgemini customers. This is synergistic."

Ovum analyst Tom Kucharvy said the alliance will provide Google with a new demand-creation channel plus enterprise credibility. It's like a trusted adviser giving clients a new option for addressing a specifically defined need and an "effective guarantee" that the adviser will make this tool work for the customer in a critical new market, he said.

"It helps Capgemini by providing a new, and for now, a differentiated, tool for addressing client needs," Kucharvy said in an e-mail. "The downside is, these needs are relatively specialized, and there is still some corporate reluctance to use them. It is therefore likely to be a relatively small market. However, since the level of advanced investment required to prepare Capgemini to capitalize on the opportunity is limited, the risk is limited."

Commenting on Google's announcement, a Microsoft spokeswoman, via e-mail, said: "We believe competition is good for customers and the industry. That said, customers tell us that our solutions deliver the ease of use, reliability and security that enterprises need. This is validated in the strong reception we've seen to Office 2007 adoption and usage and by having achieved more than 90 percent enterprise agreement renewal in the fourth quarter of our last fiscal year."

The spokeswoman said although Google touts having enterprise-level customers, it's unclear how many enterprise users of its applications Google has. In addition, she said Google has a history of releasing incomplete products, calling them beta software, and issuing updates on a "known only to Google" schedule that "flies in the face of what enterprises want and need in their technology partners."

Computerworld's Gregg Keizer contributed to this report.

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