Google is close to striking a deal for an enterprise-level Gmail implementation with Prudential for 40,000 seats, unseating IBM's Lotus Notes in the process.
This would be a huge win for Google, not least because of draconian risk and security policies in place at the financial services giant. Every piece of e-mail sent by a Prudential employee is at least machine-scanned, with searches for words like "guarantee" or for certain types of numbers, and some segment of the Prudential population has each sent e-mail looked at by human eyes.
This is the kind of scenario that has kept many large enterprises, particularly those in sensitive or regulated industries, from adopting something like Gmail. But Google has apparently convinced the IT folks at Prudential that it can comply with those requirements thanks to technology acquired from Postini in 2007.
According to my sources, Prudential's IT operations are trying to secure corporate approval for a 50-seat pilot.
Google has also gone beyond the pilot phase at Fairchild Semiconductor, and is looking for up to 300 volunteers (from the current test group of 50). The plan is to have all 6,500 users on Gmail by the end of June.