Google looks to invade enterprise UC and online collaboration markets

Companies like Cisco, Avaya, IBM, etc. should take note: Google Enterprise President David Girouard told eWEEK that his company is readying Google Voice and Google Wave for its enterprise Apps suite. When Voice and Wave gets to be part of cloud-based Apps, the customer essentially gets a complete enterprise solution around unified communications and real-time collaboration, in addition to the usual front office applications. Add on the advancing development of its Chrome browser, then Google is destined to engineer a tightly integrated, highly user-friendly solution for the enterprise:

Google Enterprise President Dave Girouard said the company will release a version of Google Voice for businesses, roll out Google Wave to all users who want it and deliver as many as 200 small features to Google Apps in 2010.

Google Apps is a suite of Web-based collaboration applications Google hosts on its servers and provisions to users for free and in a premier edition for $50 per user per year. More than 2 million business customers use the suite of hosted Gmail, Google Docs, Google Sites and other apps.

Google expects to redouble its efforts to combat Microsoft and IBM, whose on-premises collaboration software sit on the servers of hundreds of millions of enterprise customers. Microsoft and IBM moved aggressively against Google Apps in 2009 by rolling out their own collaboration apps that leverage the Web-based cloud computing model.

Girouard told eWEEK that his team added 100 discrete features to the Google Apps suite in 2009, and he expects this number to double in 2010, noting, “There will be a steady stream of new capabilities brought to the cloud.”

At a cost of $50 per user per year for the premier version.

How much money does a customer spend to deploy say, Microsoft OCS and SharePoint or IBM Lotus? Today the Google brand is gaining momentum in business, whereas decades ago nobody would dare suggest using an Internet company to power enterprise applications. Back then the sure bet was recommending someone like IBM or Microsoft. Times have changed and with the customer demanding more bang for the buck, cloud-centric products are receiving more attention than ever. That’s the sweet spot for Google.

It may still be a while for Google to catch up to established competitors in the UC and collaboration space, but the company is certain to shake things up by incorporating Voice and Wave into its Apps offering.


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