Google 'not for corporates' say some IT heads

Google 'not for corporates' say some IT heads

Are UK CIOs too conservative or should Google focus more on cost and privacy?

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Heads of IT still believe that Google is "still not a corporate contender" with its apps and services, according to the UK user body The Corporate IT Forum.

Research from the Forum, which surveyed heads of IT at some of the UK’s largest organisations, concludes that the internet giant has "a lot of ground to cover to become a serious player in the enterprise arena".

The Forum's Google Reality Checker involves practitioners from over 320 organisations, and the report was based on the responses from 100 senior IT people from 57 organisations.

Over half see Google as primarily or solely a consumer marketplace supplier. A mere 5 percent currently see it as a "credible" supplier to the enterprise market, even though Google continues to announce major new enterprise customers on a regular basis.

Those businesses that are using Google tend to be "lite" users, who don’t require full functionality of the services and who are also only using a small number of them, said the Forum.

Of those products being used, Google Earth and Maps come out on top, with nearly 70 percent seeing them as "excellent" or "good". The Google Chromebook comes out at the bottom and is the only product to be rated as "poor".

David Roberts, executive director of The Corporate IT Forum, said, "There is huge potential for Google to do great things in the corporate market. The Forum’s research highlights speed, collaboration and development of new products as the key benefits of using its products and services."  

However, he said, there are "several issues - or perceived issues - holding back corporate users - mainly Google’s 'missing features’ when compared with mainstream offerings such as Microsoft".

Roberts said, "Well over half of the survey audience see this as a barrier to adoption.”

Roberts said reacting to consumer demand for immediate updates "doesn’t work". The enterprise approach, he said, is more about planning and road mapping, with more focus on building solid customer relationships.

For enterprises, he said, the road to adoption of Google needs to include discussions around cost, licensing and privacy.

Bang & Olufsen said it is saving 82 percent on IT costs by moving email, calendaring, collaboration and communications into the cloud with Microsoft Office 365, the rival product package to the Google Apps productivity suite.

Virgin Atlantic is also considering a move to Office 365, but has dismissed any possibility of moving to Google Apps on data "privacy" grounds (http://www.computerworlduk.com/in-depth/cloud-computing/3365488/new-virgin-atlantic-it-director-why-im-not-giving-my-data-google/).

However, a number of other high profile companies and public sector organisations, including The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian and Hillingdon Council, west of London, have adopted Google Apps.

The Corporate IT Forum says its members represent an annual IT spend of €60 billion, employing over 6.2 million people.

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