Home loan company, Mortgage Choice, has ditched Lotus Notes Domino for its lenders' messaging needs in favour of Google's Enterprise Apps suite — but it's keeping Microsoft Office as the corporate standard.
Neill Rose-Innes, chief information officer of the loan company, told ZDNet.com.au it intended to transition around 1000 users to the platform by the end of the year. It currently has 400 staff and franchisees on the new system.
Rose-Innes said Google Apps would help deliver a lower total cost of ownership compared to on-site software. According to the company's annual report to investors, its technology bill increased by $530,000 over the year to 30 June 2009, leaving it with total technology expenses of $5.3 million.
The suite of software Mortgage Choice locked in with Google for the next three years, included Gmail, Google Sites and Docs. Despite the availability of Docs, Rose-Innes said it was retaining its Microsoft Office suite for the meantime as its "corporate standard".
Users, in particular franchisees, will be encouraged to use Docs as a collaboration tool, and will have the option to use it as an alternative to Office if they chose, according to Rose-Innes.
"In excess of 90 per cent of our users are away from head office," he said, explaining why it had opted for the managed software suite.
Rose-Innes said he was impressed with the improvements in "cloud" software over the past five years, but Google Apps remains its most significant step towards software-as-a-service (SaaS) to date.
For example, Mortgage Choice intended to retain its in-house developed customer relationship management (CRM) for the "foreseeable future", said Rose-Innes. It would do so because the platform included specific loan generation and qualification features that were beyond existing hosted CRM systems.
Lotus Notes Domino, meanwhile, won't entirely lose a space in the business. Lotus will be retained for certain lending support functions to its franchisees, since these applications were built on Lotus.
Rose-Innes said he was impressed with Google's handling of Mortgage Choice's request to customise some elements of its software.