Google is officially serious about the enterprise space. I met with Google Enterprise execs hosting their very first analyst day in Singapore recently, and was introduced to their enterprise suite of services, which was, unsurprisingly, similar to their consumer suite of services.
However, while they took their starting point from the consumer end, providing enterprise-ready solutions requires a different level of product calibration. To that end, Google cites spending of approximately US$3 billion annually on building/improving its data center infrastructure, investing in undersea cable systems, and laying fiber networks in the US specifically. In Asia Pacific (AP) last year, they spent approximately US$700 million building three data centers in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In addition to infrastructure investments, Google has also acquired companies like Quickoffice to enhance their appeal to enterprises weaned on Microsoft Office, while also expanding existing offerings in areas like communications and collaboration (Gmail, Google Plus), contextualized services (Maps, Compute Engine, Big Query), access devices (Nexus range, Chromebook), application development (App Engine) and discovery and archiving (Search, Vault).
What It Means
- The scale and integration of services continues to expand.Thanks to its large consumer base, Google has built a large scale, wholly-owned data infrastructure to deliver services - this benefits enterprises needing global reach and reliability. Fully integrated apps and services across a range of devices and OSes - all delivered via the cloud - allows Google to offer more efficient communication and collaboration capabilities, while also driving down costs.
- Focusing on enhancing enterprise capabilities is driving increased credibility.Offering cloud services is one thing; assuring enterprises that these services are secure and reliable is quite another. Google has certified, and continues to certify, their own staff and partners for compliance obligations and needs. Google already provides Google Apps to some US government departments. Enterprises should not rule out cloud-based services out-of-hand, but instead should evaluate these services and capabilities against their own compliance requirements.
- But further enhancements to the enterprise suite are needed.While simultaneous editing of Google Docs facilitates collaboration and productivity, Google misses the mark in complex spreadsheet number crunching, for instance, or in heavy editing of Microsoft Docs in Google Docs mode - although Quickoffice is meant to bridge that gap. My colleague, TJ Keitt, has furtherthoughts on this. Google admits it's an ongoing journey, and while they have not fully fleshed out the suite for enterprise use, they are getting closer. Another colleague, Dan Bieler, shares myview.
While many AP organizations will remain far more comfortable staying with tried and tested vendors such as Microsoft, Google's ongoing investments and a likely increase in partnerships among regional telcos and SIs make Google Enterprise an increasingly compelling option for organizations across the region.
Clement Teo is a Senior Analyst, serving Sourcing & Vendor Management professionals, at Forrester Research in Singapore. For more Forrester Research insights, follow @forrester and @cteo_forrester on Twitter.
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.