I couldn’t be more thrilled that Google is shining a light on Sharepoint. I expected this two months ago. Jive could never illuminate how broken Sharepoint is with the crazy resources and attention that Google has. So having them flash their wiki around as a “Sharepoint Killer” only helps validate that there will be heavy competition and real options for Enterprise-wide collaboration beyond Sharepoint.
It’s just that Google isn’t it and it won’t be a viable option for a long, long time.
They’ll need one hell of a strategy to break into the Enterprise. So far, that strategy is to copy simple, web-based versions of Microsoft applications and give them away for free. But that won’t work and neither nor will proudly touting that they plan to sneak around IT.
Google should take a hard look at Gateway computers. What, you forgot about Gateway? Well, in the 90s, when I worked in Dell’s consumer division, Gateway was rocking the house. Consumers and very small businesses loved Gateway. They were a media darling, too. But Gateway saw future growth from big Enterprise dollars and decided they’d go after Dell’s bread-and-butter. Conversely, Dell started in the Enterprise and was moving down-market. We all know what happened next. Gateway hit the glass ceiling. They spent lots of time and resources on trying to gain credibility and win in the Enterprise space and that distracted them for their core audience. Gateway lost. The Enterprise is just a different market with wholly different requirements.
How does Google plan to sneak around management? You know, the people who have spend billions of dollars on Enterprise software that has to integrate together? Perhaps they think they’ll side-door it like Blackberry and then IT will have to comply. But like I’ve said, Enterprises come looking for “real solutions” once viral wikis pop up. This is no different.
No one is going to look an exec at an Enterprise company in the face and recommend Google as the company’s Sharepoint. Microsoft is laughing at this. They even stole one of my lines and called Google a Frankensuite.
In the meantime, this opens the door for lots of conversation about what would be a good solution for Enterprise collaboration. And that’s a conversation worth having.