Google and enterprise SAAS

There has been lots of discussion about Google going after Microsoft with a focus on collaborative office tools vs. siloed, desktop-oriented ones.  I can definitely see a need for some of what Google has to offer particularly with the ease of use of unlocking data and analysis and sharing it with others.  All that being said, I have a hard time viewing their offering as a replacement for Microsoft office.  What I have always thought, however, is what Charlie Wood mentioned in his blog - that a partnership between Google and Salesforce.com could make sense .  For more background, I suggest reading a recent Red Herring article and one of my posts from Oct 2004 about goffice and specifically about a Google/Salesforce partnership.  My thinking has evolved over the last two years and while there may or may not be a partnership, I certainly envision a time in the future where Google offers an even lower end offering -think free, ad-supported hosted CRM and other simple ERP related apps for the SMB market.  This would allow Google to leverage its strength - online distribution and a huge user community.  Of course, customers and users will have to get over the data privacy issue but free and easy can be quite compelling.  In addition as more users sign up, I could see Google offering APIs so that its own users could build custom templates for certain verticals ala Salesforce's community approach.  As the widgetization of the web happens, think how easy it could be for a SMB to have a hosted web portal that is password protected and a number of widgets like a sales pipeline, presence and one click communication for the employees, and certain financials embedded in the page with a few simple clicks.  All of the enterprise portal infrastructure like Epicentric that used to cost boatloads of money and take months to integrate can now be used by many a SMB as we move towards a one-click world.  I am not saying that free and ad-supported SAAS apps will take over the world but Google will eventually do it and it will be interesting to see how the market reacts to it.  Ok-enough said on that.

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5 Responses to “Google and enterprise SAAS”

  1. Uday Subbarayan Sep 2, 2006 at 6:01 pm #

    Ed,
    I am not sure why you say “Enterprise SaaS” as Saas itself is focussed on Enterprise like Web20 for consumers…

    IMO, it would be interesting to watch what & how Google will bring some “coolness” factor of consumer tech to the enterprise space…Google can create an overlay of functionality ontop of business layer for the SaaS and for this it needs to partnership or acquire SaaS companies.

    Uday.

  2. evbart Sep 6, 2006 at 3:15 pm #

    Google would have a long way to go with salesforce.com before they could make it easy enough to use to consider it on par with the rest of their apps. I think it would be big step down for Google to associate their name with the salesforce applications.

    After my most recent experience with CRMs I think that anyone getting into that business needs to start from scratch rather than re-useing the fundamentally in-efficient model that has been enforced up by salesforce.com, http://www.sugarcrm.com, zoho crm, vtiger, etc

  3. Kingsley Joseph Sep 15, 2006 at 12:46 pm #

    evbart, you’re absolutely right! I’ve been trying to convince people to grow their own corn and bake their own bread, and nobody listens to me either :(

  4. chris reagan Jan 19, 2007 at 2:51 pm #

    IMHO, I see salesforce as *having* added “coolness factor” to otherwise dull (i.e., UI) applications. Re: Sugarcrm (et al.) — hasn’t Sugar just opened a massive channel for themselves via WebEx’s Connect?
    ASP, now SaaS, need not be cutting-edge, just bring direct utility gracefully.

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