Capgemini didnt take long to leverage its deal with Google, announcing Nov. 14 its first enterprise deployment of Google Apps at its new Customer Care & Intelligence center in Junction City, Kan.
Some 165 agents and supervisors at the contact center are using GAPE (Google Apps Premier Edition), which includes Google Docs word processing software, Gmail and Googles Chat instant messaging software, to complement a proprietary CRM (customer relationship management) system. For $50 per user per year, GAPE is delivered as SAAS (software as a service) and is hosted on Googles servers.
It is the first of what will likely be several instantiations in which Capgemini will use Googles applications as a complement or an alternative to collaboration and productivity software from Microsoft, IBM and other incumbent players.
The CC&I agents have been using GAPE since Nov. 6 to send e-mail, submit reports and create spreadsheets to work on and solve customer service issues together. Agents use Chat to send instant messages to supervisors for assistance with unique call scenarios. However, the CC&I center has not experienced any downtime since starting to use the software, Robert Brillhart, global practice lead for Capgemini CC&I, told eWEEK.
Brillhart said Google Apps helps make his agents more proactive in meeting customer needs, a kind of holy grail in customer service whereby Capgemini employees can react to trends on a given day before waiting for data analytics reports.
The news is a positive development for Google, which regularly steers clear of comparing GAPE to Microsoft Office despite the number of corresponding applications and functionality. Instead, Google chooses to position the GAPE suite as a collaboration platform. However, its no secret that analysts and prospective customers in the high-tech industry are watching the progression of GAPE as a potential alternative to Office, IBM Lotus and other more traditional platforms that are downloaded and perpetually licensed.
To read more about Google and Capgemini embarking on an Apps deal, click here.
The real-time capabilities mean agents no longer have to end a customer¹s call, seek out answers and return the call.
Read more here about being careful with Google Apps.
Of course, using GAPE in the call center also means Capgemini doesnt need its IT staff to configure and support e-mail servers and file-share servers. This frees up the technical staff to address more pressing issues that may arise.
Capgemini originally vowed to support GAPE Sept. 10, catching the industrys attention and thrusting Google into the spotlight as a threat to Microsoft and other entrenched players.
However, analysts such as Burton Groups Guy Creese have taken a less sanguine view of GAPE, citing a shortage of records management functionality and Google¹s lack of enterprise experience as reasons to carefully consider whether to use the largely untested software.
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