Google Apps

Five reasons why Google Apps is still losing deals

Adam Metz explains why Google Apps still loses deals, even when selling to big enterprise companies that are absolutely fed up with Microsoft.

This is definitely one of the riskier posts I've written. I've been a Google Apps customer for a couple of years, and I've even done consulting work for Google.

But Google has a right to know this information, and so do their channel sales partners, because it will serve them well, and enable them to help their customers. Without breaking any non-disclosure agreements, I'm going to attempt to describe why Google Apps still loses deals, even when selling to big enterprise companies that are absolutely fed up with Microsoft.

5 Reasons

  • 1. Government agencies still have serious security concerns: It's an open secret. There have been a series of well-known Google Apps deployments in both the government sector and the corporate sector that have been terminated early. The government deals have largely fallen apart over security concerns, but for every high-level government deal that Google loses, they seem to win a smaller one.
  • 2. Microsoft is starting to really care about Google Apps competitor Skydrive: From 2007 to 2011, Microsoft's SkyDrive product was under-promoted and under-supported. About three months ago, that changed. They're branding it as a cross between Google Apps & DropBox, and they've combined some of the best features of both, along with the Microsoft Office interface that has been popular since, well, before the Internet.
  • 3. Most partner websites stink: With a few exceptions, there aren't many Google Apps partners that have websites that excel at content marketing, which is exactly what prospective Google Apps customers need. One that seems to get the picture that robust resource centers and marketing automation are "table stakes": Appirio.
  • 4. Google's lack of commitment to uptime, at least until recently: It's 2012. Having 99.9% uptime isn't really anything to be proud of. As an IT admin, if you told me that my company will not have access to their email, calendar, or documents three hours per year, during the work day, I wouldn't be too impressed.
  • In recent months, Google has made strides against this by raising the bar to a 99.99% uptime agreement - but they do limit their liability to a 15-day credit, and they haven't put this to the forefront of their messaging. Also, their track record has been, well, only okay. In 2010, Gmail maintained uptime of 99.984%, which is similar to phone lines. About a year ago, Google also dropped the "scheduled maintenance clause" from its service level agreement (SLA), and Microsoft and Salesforce quickly followed suit.
  • 5. Lack of partner-driven video case studies: It's 2012. Nothing helps a customer own a very tough "change concept" (i.e. doing a multi-million dollar Google Apps deal) like seeing other companies in their industry do the same thing, and tackle all of the complex organizational change management. Try finding some Google video case studies on customer success that include a featured partner. It's tough. And it doesn't build a lot of buy-in for Google's sales prospects in their partner-driven ecosystem.

Also read:

About

Adam Metz is the VP of Business Development at Metz Consulting the social concept, a social customer management-consulting firm, based in Oakland, California. Metz has consulted with companies since 2006 on how to acquire, manage, monetize and retain...

16 comments
leodmonkey
leodmonkey

I'am  using google apps free edition  for about 3 years 40 users in a small business...  and i am not upgrading to the payed edition... email mainly google docs is ridiculous .

What i hate about it

-First the interface... the constant changes in the interface are so idiotic ... we all know what the enterprise user wants ... every time something changes the users gets confused and mad... i would use outlook or thunderbird , but the bandwidth in our region was not good enough .  using squid with delay pools and the web interface gave me a good  performance.

-Trying to login in your apps account will trigger access to your youtube account (accounts.youtube.com:443) even if it's disabled in the apps panel... how the hell something that wants to be a enterprise tool do that.

-Another annoying thing is the url name... google apps should have its own url name ... so i could easily block other google services ... now i have to implement ssl bump on squid  that's a disgusting thing.

-Also access control by ips like we have in databases ... i didn't like sso at all, and third part apps... i pay for a solution not a piece of a solution.

-now google apps in just a regular google  acount , why i going to pay that for :?

i had such high ropes for google apps...


pankajunk
pankajunk

Skydrive is more a competitor for Google Apps free (only upto 10 users). Office 365 is the more serious competitor for Google Apps Premium, which most companies are considering. I think the reason for Google Apps failing is its consumersey image, and the fact that nobody is quite sure how important Google Apps is in the larger Google strategy. Besides, its being a consumer tool clearly shows in some of its functionality. Pankaj http://www.hyperoffice.com

Jim Mcnelis
Jim Mcnelis

I don't happen to agree that these are the top 5 reasons customers aren't moving to Google Apps. That said, to point #3, our website sucks! We're currently building a new one. In my opinion, the following are a lot closer to the top 5 reasons customers have not yet moved to Google Apps than the reasons listed above. Top 5 reasons why Google Apps is still losing deals (enterprise) -Lack of awareness around Google Apps (Google has not put a lot behind marketing Apps) -Uncertainty around the future of Google Apps (Larry Paige..will apps make the cut?, departure of Dave G.) -Admin feature parity (this is becoming less of an issue, but managing users/policy in Apps has been less robust that Exchange. We still need AD in most cases. The admin control panel has been improving though). -It is still early in the game (Apps has just picked up serious momentum in the last 12 months..in time more business will move) -Google develops for the masses, not for individual customers. (Lots of enterprises are used to more customized software and solutions provided directly by the vendor).

brons2
brons2

For all the things already mentioned about the clunkiness of the interface, but also, Google's support for unified messaging is terrible. We currently run a unified messaging Exchange 2007 server for voicemail integration with our old school Nortel PBX. (Works great btw, everyone loves VM in the inbox, and it was way cheaper than Nortel/Avaya's software for accomplishing the same functionality). Easily moving this functionality to the cloud is an absolute business requirement for cloud email adoption. Google wants you to use a 3rd party company to integrate your onsite unified messaging with Google Talk. We were referred to a company called Esnatech, whose product would have cost us an equivalent amount to 3 years service of Office365 Gov. That blew the Google Apps solution out of the water. Granted, the Esnatech product is pretty slick looking, but the decision to migrate to the cloud comes down to $$ for us, and paying so much for the product did not make financial sense. Google needs to do some more work with this, especially considering that they have Google Voice, which seems like a more logical solution to handling voicemail in the inbox. If they could accept SIP trunks into Google Voice it would have been perfect. Oh well. I'm mapping out our Office365 migration now :-/

carol.fuhr
carol.fuhr

When I first looked at the Apps other than email, I thought, "Oh, we are going back to Office 97." Then I used them, and realized that they had a long way to go to have the same features/functionality as Office 97. Apps are great for SIMPLE documents that you want to share; sharing and collaboration features are the only things they have going for them.

jfitz111
jfitz111

I've been using Google Apps for several years and like them EXCEPT that the cut/paste functionality is unreliable, and usually fails to work correctly for me. Try to cut several rows from a Google spreadsheet and paste them into Excel. Good luck. This problem has been known for years, all one can conclude is that Google is unwilling, unmotivated, or unable to fix this mission critical functionality.

kerry.sisler
kerry.sisler

Suggest that you missed some other really obvious reasons; - The G/A provided functionality for the end-users really does fall short of what well implemented MS Office deployments have provided for many years. - Haven't yet witnessed a T/R webinar of a GoogleApps migration success which was close to a really Enterprise-scaled effort. Most are small and unimpressive market wins. Most clearly demonstrate that the client didn't have much of a clue about IT before and were now just drinking this new Koolaide, hoping that this new fangled thing makes them suddenly seem "Pakled smart" - When participating in the T/R webinars and asking about those "security questions" you mentioned, Google guys remain silent or shut off the thread or seem to pretend that questions were not asked. Sorry, but if your enterprise is a target for real, then security by obscurity is not a serious posture to adopt.

spydr_cl
spydr_cl

WRT point #4, what is the SLA of the alternatives that a client has? usually a big corporation has less than 99,9% and it's alot more expensive than USD 50/user/year. The other comments are fairly accurate but have to remember that this is the beginning of the beginning for Cloud Adoption. Partners are new and mostly startups since traditional partners see their cashflow affected when they go from an on-premise sales model to a yearly/monthly fee. But as this takes off (Gartner says that 50% of corporate email will be in the cloud by 2018) you'll see the big boys starting to sell Google Apps. Google is also shifting from a product-based focus to having a more marketing approach to its enterprise products (the little marketing they do today is light years ahead of the non-marketing they did as recently as 2010) And WRT security issues, the BBVA (a bank with 120K users) has not only replaced Exchange but also Office in over 80% of the users. G.M. has a similar case with just over 100K users, Roche with 90K, etc. This will soon be a non-issue. And for the "it's very different from Outlook" argument: what are University/College kids using now days? what will be the impact in a few years when they go into the labour force and see Outlook for the first time? Also, what do the late-teens use more to communicate, mail or Facebook/socialmedia? what will THEIR response be when they go into labor force and are forced to use an email interface? it's like someone today using fax vs email. So companies should start to use the Web interfaces and adopt social communication, since it'll be demanded by employees in a few short years.

Divergex
Divergex

I am an Apps user myself, but perhaps not for much longer. The user experience between the desktop (browser) and mobile app are not consistent. For example, I prefer conversation view to be off. On mobile there is no option to turn it off, and it can be frustrating when managing 20+ messages in one conversation. Another complaint: The different views forced on you in the browser app. You can set the view to "Comfortable" but Google thinks they know best and switches the view to one of the other choices depending on the size of the browser. There is no way to turn that "feature" off.

Jensen G
Jensen G

Google Apps does not integrate well with Outlook. Gmail has a non-standard interface. These two issues led us to drop email in favor of Exchange for mail/calendar/contacts. We do, however, use Google Docs quite a bit.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

What prevents your organization from considering Google Apps as your productivity suite? Has anyone from Google tried to sell on the benefits of Google Apps?

rmgangawer
rmgangawer

Are you conncerned that you'll start seeing ads based on what's in your spreadsheets? I just don't trust them.

hforman
hforman

We have some people using Google at work but others are trying to stop that. If one reads the FAQs, TOS and Privacy policy, Google claims to have the right to read, modify, and publicly display anything you upload to it. They also state that every document is scanned electronically and some are scaned by humans. They also claim that they are not responsible for HIPAA issues. We're working on a deal with a company that is not only HIPAA=certified but also certified to hold criminal justice systems data. Since Google's policies are now standardized across all of their products, this means that more and more companies will be looking into what happens to their data that sit on a public cloud.

aflynnhpg
aflynnhpg

We did an internal trial of GoogleApps, I loved it, found it took a month or so to get used to the email interface. The workflow for me was better in Googles web interface than in Outlook. My users however disagreed they didn't want to loose Outlook. So I had them use google sync. There were lots of issues with that option at the time, not sure if those have been addressed or not. In the end my users wanted to stay in the familiar apps, specifically Outlook. I don't know that they gave a serious attempt at the web interface. Ironically Outlook has adopted many of the features I liked in the Web interface. Grouping by conversation, the ties to social web sites, etc. We went BPOS, and have since migrated to 365. Users are fairly happy, but 365 is not without it's headaches. Password resets are an administrative burden. Users have difficulty understanding how to do it correctly. For example, they create a new password, but forget to change the old password on their phone. The device continues to try to log in and eventually locks them out. This is supposed to be about Google so I wont' go further into 365 issues. I think that in order to pull more businesses over, Google will have to be better at integrating itself into the apps they like to use. Unfortunately MS is probably making their apps hard to integrate to google as we speak. Side note, I kept my Google Apps licenses from the internal trial we did, and use it everyday, my email doesn't point to it, but google docs are integrated into my office apps. I use google forms freqently and I've even embeded a google form into my 2010 SP site. No black whole opened up when I did it either. So it wasn't a total failure.

spydr_cl
spydr_cl

Make sure you are reading the Google Apps for Business TOS and Privacy. Very different to the Standard or Free version of Apps.