In L.A., Google Blowing Big Cloud Marketing Chance

By Shane O'Neill , CIO |  Software, Google, Google Apps

Google just can't seem to get it right in the City of Angels.

The Los Angeles Times reported this week that Google missed the June 30 deadline for its closely-watched contract to move the City of Los Angeles' e-mail system over to Gmail from its current Novell Groupwise e-mail platform.

The main point of contention for Google is the Los Angeles police department, which has strict guidelines for how its data is secured.

In a meeting with city council members, according to the L.A. Times, LAPD CIO Maggie Goodrich said that the department's security requirements have not been met.

When asked by a city council member which party is to blame, Goodrich replied: "In my opinion, it was Google that didn't deliver the security requirements."

Google's missed deadline comes on the heels of a leaked inter-departmental letter in mid-April showing that performance issues with the Google implementation were frustrating users of L.A.'s pilot testing program.

Rather ironically, this week's news comes on the same week that Google announced it is launching Google Apps for Government, versions of Google Apps with specific measures that address the policy and security needs of the private sector.

The City of Los Angeles' turbulent attempt to "Go Google" with e-mail has become a public relations predicament for the search king. L.A. defied convention by choosing Google over Microsoft Outlook even after Microsoft lobbied aggressively for the bid. It also serves as an example for other government agencies that are considering a cloud computing model for e-mail and productivity applications.

Because Google was unable to implement its Gmail system by the June 30 deadline, nearly 20,000 city employees will remain on the old Novell e-mail system, forcing the city to pay for both the new and old e-mail programs. This could cost the city as much as $400,000 over the next year, according to the L.A. Times story.

Google's struggles to satisfy the City Of LA's requirements is also an example of how winning a large contract bid doesn't mean much if you can't meet the needs of an enterprise or government entity, says veteran technology analyst Rob Enderle.

"This is why it can take over a decade to become an enterprise vendor," says Enderle. "It seems like a little work for a lot of revenue, but the opposite is generally true."

Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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