Capgemini\n \n announced today that it will offer services supporting Google Apps, bolstering \n\n\t\n Google\u2019s\n \n efforts to sell its Web-based software to large businesses and companies with workers like shop-floor personnel who have limited access to corporate systems. This new option could also help companies who want to rein in \u201crogue\u201d use of Google Apps and bolster security for key documents and e-mail. But don\u2019t expect businesses to trade in their Microsoft Office suites, say analysts and consultants.\n\n\n\n\n\u201cLarger enterprises have very complex and specific requirements and they often prefer to have the assistance of a trusted adviser,\u201d says Kevin Smith, head of enterprise partnerships for Google. \u201cCapgemini can help clients develop a strategy for the most effective use of Google Apps, whether as an enterprisewide collaboration solution, or for employees not served in a traditional desktop application environment.\u201d\n\nToday's news comes on the heels of two major announcements signaling Google\u2019s desire to bring its suite of e-mail (Gmail), Calendar, and Docs & Spreadsheets from the small and midsize business market, where it boasts more than 100,000 customers, to large-scale companies\u2014where Google has been criticized as lacking the security and support necessary for wide-scale adoption. RELATED LINKS\nPostini Deal Lets Google Take Aim at Big Businesses\n\nGoogle Slips StarOffice Into Google Pack\n\nGoogle\u2019s Backup Plan: the Enterprise\n\nFirst, in February, the $10 billion Internet company announced the launch of its \u201cEnterprise Premier\u201d version of Google Apps, which mirrored the free consumer version with a couple notable exceptions: For $50 per license per year, customers received 24\/7 support (including phone support), with an interface free from ads. This version also offered more storage per user, as well as the ability to add corporate logos to customize the interface for specific businesses. Then in July, Google acquired security vendor Postini for $625 million, hoping to convince more large businesses to trust Google with corporate e-mail.\n\nToday's Capgemini services deal will help Google push its suite into the large enterprise space, says Kyle McNabb, a principal analyst with Forrester. But McNabb doesn\u2019t think the software will gain much traction with anyone other than manufacturing workers and other \u201cnon-power users.\u201d\n\n\u201cThis is a milestone, but it\u2019s not going to force a lot of large companies to look at Google Apps for the whole enterprise,\u201d he says. \u201cThe non-information workers in the plants and factories are the low-hanging fruit.\u201d\n\nIndeed, Google sees real potential in the manufacturing sector and other businesses where companies would like to get employees basic access to tools like e-mail, but don\u2019t want to spend money equipping each worker with PC hardware to access it, says Steve Jones, Capgemini\u2019s head of service-oriented architecture. Now, using Google Apps and Internet kiosks in a break room, for instance, those workers could be connected by simply accessing a Web browser.\n\n\u201cThis helps us bridge that corporate digital divide that\u2019s grown up between the haves and have-nots,\u201d Jones says. \u201cIt will really help companies engage more users.\u201d\n\nBut there is another market for Google Apps: A growing number of information workers, frustrated by traditional corporate IT systems, have flocked to the consumer version of Google Apps covertly (forming their own \u201cShadow IT\u201d department). When this happens, Jones notes, companies can put themselves at risk of breaking compliance rules.\n\n\u201cThe covert use of Google Apps is almost becoming ubiquitous,\u201d he says. \u201cCompanies can try to shut it down, but the reality is the business users will go on using it,\u201d he says. \u201cThe implications if you don\u2019t do this in a controlled way are huge.\u201d\n\nCapgemini\u2019s support of the Google suite will legitimize its use, allowing business users to come out of the shadows and use it in an open and controlled way that doesn\u2019t endanger businesses\u2019 compliance requirements or compromise corporate data, Jones says. \n\nCustomers who signed up for Google Apps\u2019 Enterprise Premier suite will still have the 24\/7 support, with or without a decision to enlist the services of Capgemini, which will customize its pricing based on customer needs, as with other consulting services, says Google\u2019s Smith.\n\nCapgemini says there was no exclusivity agreement in the Google Apps deal, and Smith leaves the door open for pursuing more partnerships with consulting firms in the future. \u201cWhile we don't discuss any specific future plans, we do see enormous benefit for our customers to exploring more partners for this program,\u201d Smith says.