Capgemini has agreed to provide Google Apps Premier Edition, Googles enterprise applications suite, to its vast client list, giving Google a potential giant boost in customer adoption.
Financial terms of the deal, to be announced Sept. 13, were not made public. But the deal is a sign that the broader business market is set to accept hosted SAAS (software as a service) and Google Apps as an alternative to Microsoft Office in the enterprise.
Google has more than 100,000 businesses using the portfolio, but should be able to boost that figure considerably with Capgemini, one of the biggest IT consulting companies, as an ally.
Is Google Apps Premier Edition suitable for enterprise use? Click here to read more.
Google and Capgemini are not championing the agreement as a coup against Microsofts dominance in the office applications space, as Capgemini has pledged to offer customers both GAPE and Office as part of its desktop and distributed services offering. However, the simple SAAS delivery model could easily help the outsourcing vendor expand GAPEs reach to the more than 1 million desktop users it already supports, New York-based Capgemini told eWEEK.
"Were seeing a lot of interest from the large companies and we think the partnership with Capgemini is going to help springboard that adoption," Rajen Sheth, product manager for Google Apps, based in Mountain View, Calif., told eWEEK. "They know these large companies and they can help refine the product and help spot the places within these companies where Google Apps can work very well."
Google turned the IT market on its ear when it unveiled GAPE in February, as many industry experts saw the suite as a threat to Microsofts Office suite.
GAPE is piped over the Internet via a Web browser and includes word processing, spreadsheet, e-mail and other capabilities for $50 per user per year. Unlike with Microsoft Office, clients who use the software dont have to install or maintain any software locally.
Steve Jones, head of SOA (service-oriented architecture) for Capgeminis global outsourcing unit, said Capgemini recognized the allure of GAPE after company officials whipped up a white paper with the Google Docs word processing application in two weeks.
With traditional word processing software, such as Microsoft Word, all of the cutting, pasting, merging and collaboration would have taken two months, Jones said.
He added that Capgemini will be able to help its own customers solve similar problems by simplifying content creation in heterogeneous technology environments.
Click here to read more about Googles competition with Microsoft and Yahoo.
But GAPE is not without its flaws. Guy Creese, an analyst at the Burton Group research firm, declared in a report in August that the lack of records management capabilities and the companys original conception of Google Apps as being for consumer use could put a crimp in any Google plans to infiltrate the business market.
Capgemini expects to be judicious in deploying GAPE and Microsoft Office. "This isnt about offering one or the other," Jones said. "This is about offering both and finding out where does the business case stack up for a power suite like Microsoft and where does the business case stack up for a collaborative suite like Google and integrating the two worlds together. … This is about two $10 billion corporations that are combining some of their existing offers to offer increased choice and flexibility into the enterprise market."
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