Google Gains A Big Enterprise Ally

Google is yet to finalize its office suite (powerpoint is on the way), but it now has a major ally in distributing it to big enterprise customers.

CapGemini, who control a million or so enterprise desktops and are one of the largest IT consulting businesses, will offer Google Apps to its clients. Google Apps include services such as email, calendar, word processing and spreedsheets.

CapGemini, which has distributed desktop applications from Microsoft and IBM (Lotus Notes) for years (and will continue to do so), says this is the move towards the trend of “team productivity.” Traditional Microsoft products, they say, are geared towards individual productivity. What they are referring to is Google Docs’ most important feature – the ability for users to collaborate over documents online, and simultaneously.

CapGemini will collect a £25 licence fee for each install, plus additional fees for service and maintenance.

This is a big step for Google, but there’s one little problem, as Nick Carr points out: the security issues around Google Docs remain. All documents are stored on Google’s servers, which is a big problem for Sarbanes Oxley strapped public companies. Noticeably absent from the announcement were any customer announcements, for the simple reason that there are none of note yet. A large telco is supposedly ready to install Google Docs on some of its desktops this month, though. Google will certainly announce that when it happens.

Google still has a long way to go before it makes any kind of dent in Microsoft’s $12 billion/year Office revenues. But the future of Office documents is becoming increasingly clear – online collaboration is the killer app, not the number of new fonts and features in this year’s version of Word.