Google gained a major ally for its march into the enterprise. Capgemini, the $10 billion consulting and outsourcing services, is now offering its customers the $50 per user per year Google Apps Premier Edition (Docs & Spreadsheets, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Talk, Page Creator, Start Page, administrative tools, APIs, 24x7 support, and a 99.9-percent uptime guarantee for Gmail).
Capgemini Global Outsourcing, which supports more than one million desktops currently, will handle procurement, migration, deployment and management for Google Apps for its large-scale enterprise customers.
Google Apps, as well as other hosted suites such Zoho, Zimbra and ThinkFree are getting on the radar of corporations, but the software is often being used covertly. Capgemini applies its methodologies and handles security, compliance and elements important to IT, giving Google Apps some enterprise credibility.
Capgemini is providing first- and second-level support. Third-level support, the highly technical issues, are handed off to Google. The deal with Google is non-exclusive.
Capgemini also sees Google Apps as a collaboration solution for the extended enterprise--mobile workers, partners and suppliers that are not tied into corporate email and applications.
The $50-per-user-per-year fee will be baked into Capgemini's pricing, which will vary according to the deal requirements. Some customers may not need all the Google applications or services that Capgemini can offer. A factory-floor operation, for example, might need only Gmail and Google Calendar.
It's a good move for Google and Capgemini, but it will not be an easy sell. Some enterprises will be leery of trusting their data to Google, and the lack of offline capabilities today could be a deterrent to adoption. However, the partnership provides Google with a practical way to flesh out the use cases, scenarios and understand the needs of larger enterprise customers.
See also: Nick Carr