The news that Capgemini has agreed to sell Google's hosted office applications (Google Apps Premier Edition) as part of its outsourced information technology services is creating a bit of interest. Interviewing a Capgemini executive, Nick Carr provides a bit more detail about how Office 2.0 fits with this more traditional IT service model; basically a way to offer a office suite and, perhaps the more strategic of Capgemini's play, to offer a better way for organisations to collaborate with each other.
Read/WriteWeb also offers this commentary:
"This is an interesting move by Google - not so much the outsourcing to CapGemini, because that is a common and almost necessary way to crack the enterprise market. Of more interest to me is how Google is positioning Google Apps as a complement to Microsoft Office. It's almost admitting that Google Apps isn't good enough to be a standalone office suite yet. And to be frank, they are right - it isn't. So for now, riding into the enterprise on the coattails of the big kahunas (MS Office and to a lesser extent IBM) is a pretty cunning strategy."
I have a slightly different take on this view. Firstly, many organisations use Microsoft Office not just for word processing, presentations, etc, but to create applications. The trick for anyone in the Office 2.0 space to really unseat Microsoft Office is going to be through the ability to deliver ad hoc applications... aka mashups. Google has the potential of course, but the question for all user-driven mashup tools is how easy it is for the average user to develop tools that do what they need them to do and deal with the 9X challenge (i.e. the new solution needs to be 9 times better than the old solution).
The second issue is records management and compliance - many enterprise solutions are designed to integrate with Microsoft Office, and certainly not this new wave of Office 2.0 applications. Of course EDRMS can be provided as a hosted tool tool. Google Records Management anyone?