Australian IT services firm SMS Management and Technology last week claimed to be fielding decent levels of interest from large Australian organisations interested in dumping their existing email platforms and migrating to Google's Gmail service.
The news comes in the wake of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training's announcement in late June that it would dump Microsoft's Outlook/Exchange platform and move its 1.3 million school students to Gmail, partnering with SMS to do so. Macquarie University has also adopted Gmail.
"There's been a fair bit of interest from the other education services around Australia," SMS industry director of business solutions Paul Cooper told ZDNet.com.au last week. The executive added some of the largest Australian city councils were also looking at the Gmail option.
"My sense is that there's a number of eyes on the NSW solution, and I get the feeling that they [other groups] will certainly want to have a look at the success and how that operates first," he added.
Google has so far struggled to gain traction in Australia with its corporate office suite, which includes the hosted Gmail service as well as calendaring, word processing, spreadsheet tools and other offerings suitable for business use.
The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has evaluated some aspects of Google's platform but found them wanting, while other smaller firms such as winemaker De Bortoli have also flirted with the technology.
Cooper said SMS was seeing a good deal of interest in using Google's offerings to reduce costs. But he said the "sleeper" functionality in the services was the ability to link the search giant's tools with other applications in a technique known as creating "mashups".
"The Google model, out of the box, is very compatible with this type of approach," he said.
One potential roadblock to adoption could be the cost of international data traffic to access data hosted on Google's servers oversees. Cooper declined to comment on whether Google had investigated hosting servers in Australia, but said the cost would vary between organisations.
Cooper said the Google suite would be of interest to medium-sized businesses who don't want to set up their own infrastructure, especially groups up to 1,000 staff, or organisations such as education departments who simply had to provide vast numbers of email accounts.
However large companies with "complex" requirements would probably stick with traditional suites such as Outlook for the time being.
The executive said the Google product was particularly suited to being partnered with mid-tier IT services firms like SMS. Industry titans such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM or Electronic Data Systems, normally worked closely with traditional software vendors such as Microsoft or Oracle.
Cooper said SMS was supplying its usual type of high-end services such as project and change management around the Google suite. In comparison, he said he suspected larger firms were struggling to work out how to make money from the new hosted Web 2.0-style applications such as Gmail.