Thursday, February 28, 2008

Pattern Finder: Google Sites: The Thing That Makes Google Apps Take Off?

Guy Creese's take

While Google Sites is a huge improvement over Page Creator--and Google is saying it's the last missing component--I'm not convinced that this latest incarnation will be enough to get large enterprises to buy Google Apps. Google Apps has been a big success with small and medium size businesses who want to avoid paying for an IT staff for as long as they can. But the Fortune 500 companies I talk to are still nervous about the lack of some nuts and bolts features, such as 24/7 phone support, the inability to administer the system via roles, the rudimentary e-mail distribution list capabilities, and the lack of records management capabilities for documents and spreadsheets. These are non-glitzy requirements, but real requirements nevertheless.

So while Google continues to improve Google Apps from a user interface point-of-view, it hasn't improved the underlying data model--Google Apps still shows its consumer heritage. (E-mail distribution lists that contain other distribution lists have been around for 20 years--yet Google has yet to include that important enterprise feature). While that isn't hurting Google within the SMB space, it is within the larger enterprise space. The vendor race in the collaboration and content space continues.

Pattern Finder: Google Sites: The Thing That Makes Google Apps Take Off?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Peter - I thought I'd jump in to share my thoughts and ideas around GoogleSites. I'll preface this with the fact that I've never used GoogleSites.

a. The power of the "wiki" is that it's not static the way an intranet is static. Today, most people want to contribute and be an author of some sort. Wikis encourage this and also facilitate the subsequent colloboration. I too, am surprised that Google is avoiding the term "wiki". I've never perceived "wiki" in a negative sense and I'm not aware of that perception in the marketplace.

b. Related to perception - wikis can be hard to use for some non-technical folks. I run a marketing team for a sw company and I established a marketing wiki about 1.5 yrs ago. Some people on my team use it and leverage it well, some are afraid. Back a few years ago, SharePoint was a glorified folder and document managment system - only marginally better than a static intranet in my opinion. However, SharePoint could be used by my whole marketing team without any technical difficulties.

c. This is where I see Google fitting in. I believe they can solve some of the complexity and usability issues related to wikis and bring that to the consumer marketplace, en masse. If that is done well, then I do believe it will trickle over into more business applications, esp. SMB. I could see myself using GoogleSites to help me manage a particular marketing program or campaign in the next 12 months.

Anyway, it will be interesting to see what happens....