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What do IT Managers think about Google in the Enterprise?

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In the past I have argued that Google is putting the pieces in place to make a big push into the enterprise - possibly in voice as well as email and other services. Well a new survey by Network World shows that many in the enterprise may be wary of utilizing Google for business critical functions. The two main reasons are the quality of support and data/security issues.

Quality of support is pretty obvious - there are many horror stories by those who bought a Nexus One or use Google Apps for their email about lack of support. But this is something that could be resolved with resources.

But the fear of Google having too much data is something that Google can't easily fix. The more data that Google collects, the more pushback they are getting from those who don't want Google to have this data (see: its issues with Street View cars nabbing data from WiFi networks). It is a frightening thought for many an IT manager to hand over the keys for email, document sharing, IM, and soon voice and videochat to one huge provider. Google starts to look like the vampire squid of the IT world - sucking data and dollars out of every conceivable source. Anyone remember this ancient (circa 2004) cheesy flash animation about Google's quest for future world domination?

Where does Google fit in the UC&C Continuum?

Hardly a week goes by in which Google isn’t a topic of conversation with our clients. IT managers are often lured to Google applications on the promise of lower costs, simplified administration, and the ability to shed costly infrastructure (and support requirements) in exchange for a cloud-based solution.

Google has certainly started to stake a claim to the enterprise communication and collaboration market. It continues to improve Google Apps for messaging, calendaring, document creation and document sharing. It has added real-time capabilities such as instant messaging and desktop video, and now with Google Voice, it has finally opened up its unified messaging solution to all (though it continues to resist calls to deliver a true VOIP service). Given these efforts, it’s certainly not surprising that IT buyers are taking a long hard look at Google.

Over the last few months we’ve interviewed over 200 companies for our annual research benchmark. Around half are evaluating, using, or planning to deploy “office as a service” applications (not just Google, but also competing offerings such as Zoho, and Microsoft Office Live). But an equal percentage (50.2%), have strong reservations specifically about Google as a vendor.

Why? Security tops the list. Many companies, due to retention/governance or compliance concerns don’t trust Google with their data, afraid it could be compromised, or even indexed for searching (though Google clearly states that they don’t access private data). Some companies outside the U.S. are reluctant to store data on servers within the U.S. due to concerns about the Patriot Act.

The second biggest area of concern is support. Google doesn’t yet possess the ability to support large, global companies via a direct support model, though it has partnered with systems integrators such as CSC to deliver enterprise-class support. Other concerns we heard relate to custom developed applications and the need for local storage.

The bottom line: carefully evaluate Google as part of your collaboration strategy, but understand not only what you gain, but what you give up should you head down the Google path.

via Where does Google fit in the UC&C Continuum? | NetworkWorld.com Community by Irwin Lazar on Mon, 07/12/10 - 9:20am.