Capgemini to help push Google Apps into larger companies

Cnet is reporting here that Google will use Capgemini to help big business use Google Apps Premiere.

The article says Capgemini will provide desktop and customization support so that larger businesses can get a custom experience from Google’s “commodity” application platform.

Global consulting firm Capgemini believes that GoogleApps–Google’s online alternative to Microsoft Office–appeals to more than college students and small businesses.
For Google, the arrangement helps Google Apps’ entry into large corporations, which tend to be conservative about new technology adoption.

Interestingly, Microsoft felt the need to issue their own press release and spin on the Capgemini deal, which said, among other thoughts,

…enterprise customers have voted with their wallets in consistently buying Microsoft Office because of its rich features and reliability.

It’s true Microsoft Office has very rich functionality, but the average user probably leverages about ten to twenty percent of Word’s features. Too many dials and knobs get in the way when all a user cares about is efficiently creating and sharing content – whether the content is a document, spreadsheet or presentation. Today the emphasis is on sharing and collaboration, where Microsoft Office doesn’t do so well.

Google Apps, as well as competitors like Zoho Office and Central Desktop, have a long way to go to emulate the full Microsoft Office experience, but I guess my hypothetical question is why do we need to slavishly copy the past? Just because Microsoft Office became a standard in most organizations, doesn’t mean it will reign supreme forever.

Let’s not forget, ten years ago another “office” suite was the darling of enterprise IT – but who here remembers Wordperfect Office? It was ground-breaking for it’s time – the first integrated email, calendar and task list system – and that was in 1992.

Enterprise IT is on the precipice of some subtle but far reaching changes in the way content and collaboration features are deployed to users. Heavy Windows-based and client / server applications like Microsoft Office are starting to feel bloated and dated compared to some of the new efficient web-based productivity tools. The off-line access problem is getting solved, as well as better security models and confidence is building in the idea that hosted services can meet the needs of most organizations.