Mike Gotta pointed me to a post over at ReadWriteWeb entitled, "Google Apps Campaign: How Not to Influence IT Experts." Google has started a billboard campaign to urge enterprises to start using Google Apps (since it's mostly been a bust in large enterprises). There's also a web site--Google Apps "Spread the Word"--that encourages employees to convince IT to move to Google Apps. Dana Oshiro, the author, notes (and I think correctly),
Yet commenters on the post note that change in IT often came from outside IT. This is true as well. Minicomputers became popular because they offered a way for business departments to get around the slow as molasses mainframe computer group. PC LANs, in turn, became popular because they offered a way for users to get around both the mainframe and minicomputer groups.
Google's ad campaign illustrates two things. First, the company's naivete--or stupidity, depending on your point of view--at how to deal with enterprise IT. (They tried this with Google Apps Team Edition and that wasn't a huge success.)
Second, that we're going to see a replay of history here. Yes, Google Apps is currently immature--in the same way that PC LANs were immature in their early days. Yet those bugs got fixed over time, and LANs became an IT staple. We're going to see the same thing happen with SaaS-based collaboration, content, and communication. Whether Google is the company that will deliver it is debatable, but not the fact that it will happen.