Google’s Foray Into Enterprise World – Big Hairy Audacious Goal

BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal and that’s what Google is set to achieve with its beta launch of Google Apps.

Google is inviting enterprise companies and educational insitutes to participate in its Google Apps beta initiative.

Prerequisites :: You need to have your own domain name. The service is BYOD (Bring your own Domain), i.e. Google will not host your domain.

How does it work?
You need to sign up with your domain details, enter the no. of accounts that needs to be created etc.
Once accepted by Google, you can create your user ids and select the services you want to avail.

As of now, there are only 4 services available –

  • Email (i.e. Gmail),
  • Chat (i.e. GTalk),
  • Calendar and
  • Domain web pages (i.e. Page Creator).

Once your services are activated, users can collaborate using these communication tools.

Benefits
You need not maintain your own hardware/software or any maintenance. No server patching, no worries of virus attacks (hopefully). Let Google bear the pain.

How does Google Domain Apps compete with Facebooks of the world?
Apart from the enterprise, Google is very smartly luring educational institutes. And instead of building just-another social network for students, its giving away all the ready-made-tools needed to build one. Moreover, this service will include alumnis too (catch-them-young, make sure that these students use your service, so they stick to it/promote the service when they join the corporate world!).
As they mention

“So imagine how valuable it would be if your entire campus community shared a set of powerful, easy-to-use and integrated communication and collaboration services. With Google Apps for Education, you can offer all of your students innovative email, instant messaging, and calendaring, all for free. .. and it’s all hosted by Google, so there’s no hardware or software for you to install or maintain.”

Needless to say, Google will leverage all of Gmail and other product features (multi-language support etc.) to make sure that Google Apps gets an “admission” in the campus.

Although enterprise companies may not be interested in this service due to its lack of integration with BlackBerry/Nokia E61 etc, (as Om Malik points out), but this definitely makes sense for startups/smaller firms.

Going Forward?
This is just a foot in the door. Google will surely integrate Writely, Spreadsheet,Reader and other office products in their Apps. And I am sure that this signals the entry of Google OS and G Drive.

Giving away the app for education, if successful will be a huge bolt to Microsoft. After all , everybody wants to capture the impressionable minds and lock-in these future-corporate-users to their product (read “walled garden”).

Concerns over Data Privacy
While blogpsphere is buzzing with the beta launch of Google Apps, it seems many are concerned with the very idea of putting the enterprise data on web-based-application.

Let me ask them – why do you think companies are ready to part with their salesforce data to Salesforce.com, or procurement related data to Ariba/Ketera? Isn’t that a highly secured data? Something which MUST be protected from compeition/hackers?
Companies do it, because they see a substantial impact on their TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) – no maintenance, no software/harware installation etc..

And it’s for the same reason that companies will eventually embrace web-based office products.

Its disruptive. Needs behavioral change. Will take time to embrace.

Links: Google Apps for Enterprise | Google Apps for Education

Filed Under: Google Apps, office

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