Google has been promoting its broad suite of "Google Apps for Business" as -- among other things -- an enterprise collaboration and social computing offering, aiming to compete with the likes of SharePoint.
To that end, Google has won a handful of big deals, but in discussions with some larger early adopters, a hype cycle appears to be playing out:
- Customer leadership gets excited about "Cloud"
- They make a big splash by outsourcing key functionality to Google Apps
- It turns out later that Google's approach doesn't always work well for the entire enterprise
- Customer quietly dials back to core GMail offering, plus perhaps a few related Apps
This hasn't happened to every large Google Apps customer -- and other vendors frequently hype their wares too -- but it has repeated itself in several cases.
This hype cycle most recently played out with City of Los Angeles, who as it turns out received a $250k discount to help sway others that Google could sweep large enterprises. I missed some of the fall-out that transpired during the winter holidays, but the intrepid Mary Jander did not. Read her detailed exposé here.
Subscribers to our Enteprise Collaboration & Social vendor evalutions know that Google's critical early architectural assumptions have bequeathed Apps with a legacy of suitability for some small- and medium-sized business scenarios, but also made it less amenable to major enterprises.
To be sure, Google Apps could present a good fit for you, especially if you crave GMail. But don't just "go Google" in some quixotic attempt to cloudify your business or wipe your aging IT investments away in one swoop. Consider Google Apps like you would any other vendor's offering -- which means: test first, test broadly, and test competitively against other solutions. Let us know if we can help.