Can Google turn enterprise IT from a cost center to a profit center? Maybe.
That question and answer came up during the keynote session at MITs 2006 CIO Symposium. And the person answering the audience members questions was keynoter and Google Vice President and General Manager David Girouard, the Google executive responsible for all aspects of Googles enterprise business.
The idea of using Google search in conjunction with contextual ads during internal corporate searches was one of several indications of Googles enterprise aspirations provided by Girouard during his keynote, as well as during the follow-up interview.
In the podcast, Girouard expands on Goggles plans for enterprise e-mail and office productivity applications as well as how the company views Microsoft as an office application competitor.
"It is a very interesting possibility," Girouard said about enterprise search being accompanied by contextual ads.
While he also said the ad-based search is only in the possibility stage, he did note that many advertisers would like to reach those searching within the enterprise.
He also noted there were many obstacles to overcome including making the search service adhere to a companys internal privacy and compliance requirements.
"Enterprise search will be as impactful as wider [consumer] search," Girouard said.
He also argued that tag-based data strategies will fall to the wayside as search continues to become more robust. "All efforts to structure and tag information have probably fallen short ... In our view, you shouldnt have to tag information," he said.
Girouard provided four statements that he said are guiding Googles enterprise strategy:
- The first statement is, "focus on the end user and all else will follow." He said that has been one of the companys guiding principles since the company was founded.
- The second statement is, "simplicity drives adoption." As evidence he pointed to the companys simple search bar which greets the consumer beginning a Google search. That search bar has not changed significantly since 1997, while the underlying technology has changed significantly.
- The third statement is, "enterprise search will be as impactful as [consumer] search.
- The fourth statement is, "single sign-on is the bottleneck that needs attention." Girouard noted that single sign-on is a current priority among the Google engineers working on the companys enterprise strategies.