Deploying Google Apps could be a "career-limiting move for enterprise architects", according to a new Burton Group report.
Enterprises should not expect too much from Google's hosted collaboration suite and its "rudimentary" feature set, according to Burton.
Google Apps is useful in a limited set of circumstances, the report says. Start-ups and other small businesses might want to use it as a basic office and collaboration suite. Google Apps can also be considered by businesses that need a "lite" collaboration or enterprise content-management application, or a rudimentary replacement of Microsoft Office for "non-power users" who need only basic email, word processing and spreadsheets.
Even at Google's offices, Apps is used internally only as a collaboration add-on to Microsoft Office, the report says.
"Google has caught the attention of enterprises with its inexpensive Google Apps Premier Edition (GAPE) product: available at $50 (£26) per user, per year," Burton's Guy Creese wrote. "However, the seductive price can spell trouble for enterprise architects and their companies if they don't do their homework: the solution's rudimentary feature set means that enterprises need to pick carefully and implement slowly."
The 55-page report is titled "Google Apps in the Enterprise: A Promotion-Enhancing or Career-Limiting Move for Enterprise Architects?"
Microsoft Office has a huge lead in features over Google Apps, Burton says.
With documents, it notes that "Google Docs does not support a table of contents, headers, footers, automatic creation of footnotes or end notes."
With spreadsheets, it notes that "Google Spreadsheets does not support some of the more esoteric functions within formulas (for example, database functions), and cannot hide rows or columns."
For presentations, "Google does not yet offer a presentation application, although it is in the process of developing one," says Burton.
And for customised applications it says "using Visual Studio Tools for Office, developers can create customised business applications that leverage capabilities in Microsoft Word and Excel, for example. While the Google APIs offer some programmatic control, they do not offer the broad level of capabilities that Microsoft does."