Google needs to beef up hosted apps

GOOGLE INC. MUST PROVIDE STRONGER DATA MODELS along with role-based access and records management archiving capabilities before most IT managers will take its Google Apps hosted application suite seriously, analysts said recently.

The search tool company’s hosted offerings are being scrutinized by IT managers looking to compare them with Microsoft’s Online Services hosted offering, which was unveiled last September.

“I think Google has underestimated the complexity of the enterprise space,” said Guy Creese, an analyst at Burton Group. “So far they basically have [delivered] consumer products and slapped an enterprise name on them. They talk a lot about usability, but they fall down” due to the lack of an enterprise data model.

Creese said Google must further differentiate the versions, noting that several new features must be added to meet the needs of large IT operations. Some of those include data archiving tools to augment records management searches, email distribution list functions and role-based management tools.

Matt Cain, an analyst at Gartner Inc., added that Google Apps likely won’t be seriously considered by enterprises until the company can show it can support reporting, audit trails, and service-level agreements of large-scale commercial users.

Nonetheless, he expects Google and Microsoft to be the primary providers of hosted applications to corporate users when Gartner expects the market to take off between 2010 and 2012.

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