Yesterday’s Techrepublic Webcast regarding Hamilton Beach moving to Google, and Ed Brill’s subsequent post generated some lively discussion on Planet Lotus, Twitter, and in my office. I had lots to think about during the drive home last night!
As I sat sipping my early morning coffee today, I wondered if IT organizations had the same amount of money available to them today as they did in 1999 when preparing for Y2K – all other factors remaining the same – would Google Apps be as attractive as an enterprise solution? I’m not so sure. Many of the organizations that are moving to cloud computing are using cost savings as their primary reason for moving to cloud based collaboration systems. So given economics as a constraint, many organizations are willing to sacrifice customer service, technical support, upgrade support, product stability because the cloud option is “cheaper.” Or are they using that only as an excuse?
Haven’t we all read about IT organizations that have implemented systems (any) only to turn around and literally rip them out a few years later because they were poorly implemented or poorly managed? Isn’t it a management strategy to frequently blame it on the old system and prosthetize that the new system will most certainly be better?
And collaboration systems are unique in that they REQUIRE collaboration. Collaboration between IT staffs, collaboration between user groups and technical groups, and collaboration between management and technical staff. So that everyone is on board with a common set of goals and objectives for the system. Otherwise, it is collaboration failure.
So while Google Apps may be the cost/effort saver du jour, if the collaboration infrastructure is not fostered, if users are not trained and offered solutions for accessing tools from remote locations, and nuturing of the client base does not take place, then we may read in a few years about Google being replaced by some other product at organizations like Hamilton Beach. Maybe back to Lotus Notes/Domino!