Two years after Google's announcement of Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE), it looks like it's finally getting some traction in large enterprises, at least in the UK. GAPE has done well in the SMB space as well as with universities (where Google Apps Education Edition is free for students), but historically it's been unable to convince large businesses to adopt GAPE. When asked about large enterprise customers, Google usually points to Genentech. However, the press and enterprises don't always pick up on the fact that Arthur Levinson, Genentech's Chairman and CEO, also sits on Google's Board of Directors.
'Google Apps was definitely bought as an additional tool set, but Lotus Notes will be disappearing as a result of this,' Beale said. 'It will take a while because we have a range of applications running on Domino but Notes as a mail platform will be phased out, I suspect.'
'Domino/Notes was a product ahead of its time and Lotus is still probably the most credible enterprise vendor [in the space], but in terms of what we’re losing [through the change], it’s not a lot. The problem with things like Notes is they’re trying to be all sorts of things and today’s products don’t have that baggage.'
In mid-2008, another media company in the UK, Telegraph Media Group, ran a GAPE pilot with 140 of its 1,400 workers and it was a big success. Paul Cheesbrough says in the CIO article:
“We’ve got Office 2003, Windows XP and Exchange 2003 and we started to look at the refresh cycle at the beginning of this year. We had a decision to make as to whether to sign up for a three-year enterprise agreement with Microsoft or look at something else. [As a pilot] we put 10 per cent of our 1400 user seat estate and allowed them to use Google Apps alongside their Office and Exchange infrastructure. Overwhelmingly, the feedback was positive and there would have been uproar if we had said we were turning it off. We were faced with the decision of whether we pursued the same [Microsoft] path and paid the price for that or put more and more internal solutions in the cloud.
“We made a conscious decision not to refresh any of [the Microsoft infrastructure]. We’re not going to remove it but we won’t upgrade it. Some users might use Outlook as the client but we’re moving to migrate people from Outlook onto Google by the end of the year. We’re not going to rip and replace but we’ve decided not to refresh Office 2003 and we’ll sweat that asset. Google Apps is good enough and rich enough for us to do what we need to do. Collaboration has been very powerful [in Google Apps] and as people use Google Mail and Calendar they’ll naturally stray to use Google Docs.
“When I started the trial in February I probably wouldn’t have forecast this as the result but the user feedback meant that it was quite an easy decision to make. It fits quite well with other business apps, with things like Salesforce.com. Also, it allows our staff to spend less time on disk upgrades and password refreshes and more time being productive.