Google Applications Premier Edition Are Under Attack

September 11th, 2007 at 12:00 am
 


It has been rumored for a while that Google will be releasing an ecnterprise version of their Google Apps ofice suite. Today they have confirmed that decision by teaming up with CapGemini, an IT systems consultatino company. These actions have struck quite a nerve for major players in the online and offlince office business.

Zimbra for one has sent messages to Mashable and Read/Write Web explaining how Google Apps Premiere Edition cannot be used by enterprises:

“Google’s deal with Cap Gemini today definitely raises visibility for the SaaS market. However, the pair face a challenge: since all Google Docs are stored on Google’s servers, public companies would face big Sarbanes-Oxley compliance issues if they deployed Google Apps. Zimbra’s Web 2.0 messaging and collaboration platform provides enterprise customers with freedoms that Google Apps just can’t provide, including the ability to archive for compliance purposes. They can use Zimbra as a hosted service or deploy it on-site. They can use it online or offline while retaining killer AJAX functionality. They can offer their employees access from any desktop, Web, or mobile client.”

In short they just want to say that Google Apps suck and they have a better office suite.


On the other hand, and most surprising, Microsoft has reacted with unexpected defensiveness going as faar as enumerating 10 reasons why Google Apps cannot replace their MSOffice suite for Enterprise use. The list was made by their "corporate spokesperson" Mary Jo Foley and sent to various blogs.

1. Google touts having enterprise level customers but how many “USERS” of their applications truly exist within the enterprise?

2. Google has a history of releasing incomplete products, calling them beta software, and issuing updates on a “known only to Google” schedule – this flies in the face of what enterprises want and need in their technology partners – what is Google doing that indicates they are in lock step with customer needs?

3. Google touts the low cost of their apps –not only price but the absence of need for hardware, storage or maintenance for Google Apps. BUT if GAPE is indeed a complement to MSFT Office, the costs actually become greater for a company as they now have two IT systems to run and manage and maintain. Doesn’t this result in increased complexity and increased costs?

4. Google’s primary focus is on ad funded search. Their enterprise focus and now apps exist on the very fringe and in combination with other fringe services only account for 1% of the company’s revenue. What happens if Google executes poorly? Do they shut down given it will them in a minimal and short term way? Should customers trust that this won’t happen?

5. Google’s apps only work if an enterprise has no power users, employees are always online, enterprises haven’t built custom Office apps – doesn’t this equal a very small % of global information workers today? –On a feature comparison basis, it’s not surprising that Microsoft has a huge lead.

6. Google apps don’t have essential document creation features like support for headers, footers, tables of content, footnotes, etc. Additionally, while customers can collaborate on basic docs without the above noted features, to collaborate on detailed docs, a company must implement a two part process – work together on the basic doc, save it to Word or Excel and then send via email for final edits. Yes they have a $50 price tag, but with the inefficiencies created by just this one cycle, how much do GAPE really cost – and can you afford the fidelity loss?

7. Enterprise companies have to constantly think about government regulations and standards – while Google can store a lot of data for enterprises on Google servers, there is no easy to use, automated way for enterprises to regularly delete data, issue a legal hold for specific docs or bring copies into the corp. What happens if a company needs to respond to government regulations bodies? Google touts 99.9% uptime for their apps but what few people realize that promise is for Gmail only. Equally alarming is the definition Google has for “downtime” – ten consecutive minutes of downtime. What happens if throughout the day Google is down 7 minutes each hour? What does 7 minutes each hour for a full work day that cost an enterprise?

8. In the world of business, it is always on and always connected. As such, having access to technical support 24/7 is essential. If a company deploys Google Apps and there is a technical issue at 8pm PST, Sorry. Google’s tech support is open M-F 1AM-6PM PST – are these the new hours of global business? And if a customer’s “designated administrator” is not available (a requirement) does business just stop?

9. Google says that enterprise customers use only 10% of the features in today’s productivity applications which implies that EVERYONE needs the SAME 10% of the feature when in fact it is very clear that in each company there are specific roles people play that demands access to specific information – how does Google’s generic strategy address role specific needs?

10. With Google apps in perpetual beta and Google controlling when and if they rollout specific features and functionality, customers have minimal if any control over the timing of product rollouts and features – how do 1) I know how to strategically plan and train and 2) get the features and functionality I have specifically requested? How much money does not knowing cost?

Quite a list from the leading provider of office software.

Whatever it is Google is doing, they are probably on the right path to domination of the office market.  With the list and comments given to them by their competition, it might be easier to launch a better product that will topple Microsoft and Zimbra over.