Hey Google, Enterprise Customers Want Full Security, Not Beta

Last Updated Jul 23, 2010 9:00 PM EDT

Google (GOOG) has put a hard chase on Microsoft (MSFT) and its Office business. Google App growth has been high, and Microsoft hasn't helped with its disappointing online versions of Office applications. But apparently Microsoft has a secret weapon: Google's own clumsiness when it comes to managing enterprise business.

One look at Google's atrocious product management of its Nexus One phone reminds you that the company has yet to learn how to adequately deal with people who pay money for its products. And at the end of last month, Google failed to meet a critical deadline to supply Google Apps to Los Angeles:
Google's failure to have all municipal employees outfitted with Google Apps by the June 30 deadline will have the company and its implementation partner reimbursing L.A. for extra costs, as the city continues to rely on former supplier Novell Inc., according to Los Angeles Chief Technology Officer Randi Levin.

The primary culprit: Security concerns about Google Apps expressed by the city's police department.
This escapade only reinforced Microsoft's attempts to attack Google on security and privacy. But that's the least of the damage. Google wants to be a premier cloud services provider and to take the enterprise by storm. Nine months ago, winning the City of Los Angeles as a customer was a big deal, and one that Google touted on its blog.

As I've said before, there's a big difference between running a freemium business based on advertising-subsidized operations and providing a level of assurance that enterprise customers expect. Yes, Google has some big companies as customers, but when it can't perform, it makes all of them reconsider whether the vendor might fall short when they need something. For many years, IBM (IBM) was king of the corporate roost because of the single statement favored by many IT executives: "No one ever got fired for buying IBM." The days of that type of complete allegiance are over, but technology managers still need to make choices that won't make their CEOs reconsider who they hired to run their information processing needs. Google has to do more than make good. It must build an organization that can, under any circumstances, deliver in a big way. Maybe that would be a good investment for a few of the billions of dollars that Google has in the bank.

Related: Image: RGBStock.com user duchesssa, site standard license.
  • Erik Sherman On Twitter»

    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.

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