Google Apps and Cap Gemini: strange bedfellows?

Consulting firm Cap Gemini has become a major deployment partner for Google Apps. At first glance, this combination seems odd, to say the least.

Google Apps / Cap Gemini
Google Apps / Cap Gemini
Consulting firm Cap Gemini has become a major deployment partner for Google Apps. At first glance, this combination seems odd, to say the least. What's in it for both companies? To find out, several Enterprise Irregulars (Vinnie Mirchandani, Dennis Howlett, Phil Wainewright, and myself) spoke with Steve Jones, Cap Gemini's head of SOA, and Michael E. Donner, their Vice President and Global Head, Demand Generation. Cap Gemini is a large system integration and consulting organization focusing on high-end, strategic IT projects. In contrast, Google Apps are lightweight, online, office-style applications that include a word processor, spreadsheet, and email. Think of Google Apps as software even your non-technical grandmother could use. From Google's perspective, the relationship with Cap Gemini is a no-brainer. Overnight, Google Apps have achieved the enterprise stamp of approval. Cap Gemini offers Google the credibility it needs to be taken seriously as an application vendor reaching inside the enterprise. Cap Gemini's motivation in this deal is more complex. I asked Steve Jones, in a follow-on email, why the head of global SOA (service-oriented architecture) is leading this initiative for Cap Gemini. Since SOA is usually associated with large-scale projects, I didn't understand the connection. Here's his response:
I transferred from my old position of CTO for delivery transformation to become head of SOA because the impact of SOA for us at Cap Gemini is about how IT reorientates itself towards the business and changes its process and delivery models to be based around delivering services. One of they key philosophical points of this is understanding the true business impact of a service and therefore its delivery model. This is why in February this years I also took over as head of SaaS as for us that is one way in which a business service (in this case communications and collaboration) can be delivered. By viewing SOA as a business-driven approach, it becomes easier to see how, and where, a business can adopt SaaS. The other technical reason is that I do a large number of the vendor and technology assessments at Capgemini and a primary piece of choosing a SaaS partner is understanding if they are technically viable and what technical challenges we might face.
Cap Gemini accomplishes two goals by entering into this relationship with Google: 1. Cap Gemini gets to ride the software as a service (Saas) train. As they told us during the briefing, Enterprise 2.0 applications are already being deployed covertly in large organizations, and denying this fact serves no purpose. Call this the "wave of the future" argument. 2. Google Apps become another point of service for Cap Gemini, helping the firm deepen its relationship with clients. Call this the "we love you and want you to love us" argument. Given these arguments, perhaps Google and Cap Gemini are not strange bedfellows at all. However, calling this a marriage of convenience is probably close to the truth.

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