Would enterprise adopt Google Docs?

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Google have announced in a recent interview with ZDNet Asia that within a years time that Google Docs should have enough functionality that most enterprises could "get rid of [Microsoft] Office if they chose to".

As I am currently working for a large company this is a bold statement to be making. From this side of the fence there are few things that would need to be considered before a switch like that could be made:
  • Is the feature set comparable?
  • Is the security comparable?
  • Is the application compatible with my equipment?

Is the feature set comparable? In the article it goes on to mention that MS Office is "an overkill tool for most people" and that "Microsoft's offering will become a specialized offering for office workers who need its additional functions". I would argue from this respect, if Google are still offering a cut-down version of Word that Word will still continue to stay on top in the enterprise. I also don't see the difference between what Google are referring to as "most enterprises" and "office workers"?

Is the security comparable? Most large enterprises have highly secured documents that need to be edited on a daily basis; why would an enterprise support two applications internally? Big business requires that highly sensitive files are encrypted before being sent over the internet. I'm not sure what Google offers on this front, but from business perspective the trust is not there.

Is the application compatible with my equipment? For a business to adopt Google Docs they would need to be sure that Docs was compatible with their other applications (printers, faxing software, cut and paste to other applications) etc. This may be the smallest hurdle but is something to be considered.

Looking at it form here, for a multinational to start using Google Docs they would decide this on a company wide basis. That means the decision to use Google Docs is a decision to support Google Docs worldwide on every machine in every country. I would suggest that for any large company the first three points would need to be satisfied before the cost/benefit could be looked at.

Besides enterprise edition, for people like my parents and for my own personal use, I look forward to a new improved Google Docs with excitement. My parents collect a lot of garbage on their machine and it would be great to use a cut-down operating system in combination with Google Docs. As it stands, it's hard to argue for them to move away from Office as the things that my Mum gets emailed are usually buried in powerpoint slides, excel sheets and word docs. You don't know how much fun it is when your mother calls every time there is a file with an extension that she can't open.

Tech Crunch today also speculated through a "reliable source" that the Google Chrome OS will be launched within a week. Not sure what to expect from this one as it has been previously suggested that the initial support will be targeted towards netbooks.

Disclaimer: Views expressed here about Google Docs are my personal opinion and have nothing to do with my employer.
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