At 10, Google reiterates commitment to CIOs

Matthew Glotzbach, product management director of Google's Enterprise team, chats with IDG News Service

How committed is Google, at the top executive level, to this Enterprise unit and to invest as much as is needed in the long term to continually develop these products? You are going up against competitors like Microsoft, IBM, Cisco,, that are seasoned veterans in the enterprise IT market, as well as many smaller but strong players like Yahoo's Zimbra and Zoho.

It's a fair question, and I can say unequivocally that the company is, from the top levels, in conversations with Larry, Sergey and Eric, they're absolutely committed to this space. Probably the best example was when Google's third-largest acquisition to date was Postini for $625 million. That's a very tangible proof of commitment. It's putting our money where our mouth is. It's obviously an enterprise play exclusively. We're very much in this business for real, we're highly committed to it and we're in it to have an impact on the business computing environment.

Yes, we are the new guy to some extent in these markets, but we're building off of an amazing foundation and base leveraging the Google infrastructure that's tested and entering into its 10th year in terms of being a leader in cloud computing. Also, a lot of the names you mentioned were the new guys not that many years ago, even the likes of Microsoft.

You were able to get the attention quickly of small and mid-size businesses with the Google Mini and Search Appliance in enterprise search and with the Standard Edition of Apps, which is free. But winning clients among large companies is more difficult. CIOs have many requirements that SMBs may not have. Why are you so interested in providing software to Fortune 1000-type companies?

One thing we've done as we've built the Enterprise team over the last five or so years, is that we've tried to marry the understanding and know-how of the enterprise space with the DNA of the Google culture and how we attack these types of problems. As a result, from a team standpoint, we're very excited in changing how enterprise technology works. With the Search Appliance first, and now with the cloud computing model, we're helping the enterprise rethink how they've done IT for the last few decades, by, for example, bringing the consumer best practices from a software standpoint and delivering them to the end-user.

All too often in the world of enterprise IT, we've gotten too caught up in IT for IT's sake. It's not to suggest that reliability and support aren't important. They're extremely important. But we tend to lose sight of what the end-user is trying to accomplish, what business goal we are trying to accomplish, and how can we apply technology to help the user quickly and efficiently accomplish that task. For example, the collaboration capabilities that the Apps software and the cloud computing model enable really change the way people do business. It allows users to interact with information and each other in a whole new way, and the impact that can have on the pace of business and the effectiveness of communication and collaboration is monumental. Rethinking how corporate IT is done and providing a path forward that delivers on the end-users' needs in a more cost-effective, less burdensome manner from the IT perspective is a big task and good goal.

We will absolutely continue to enhance our products to meet the needs of the most demanding organizations, including enhancing and extending our service level agreement to cover more applications in the suite, enhancing the capabilities of the applications to meet the IT department and the CIOs' needs. In the short time that Google Apps has been around, for less than two years, you've seen a tremendous amount of advancement in the product.

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