Google’s future in the enterprise is cloudy

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Google had a clear message for developers attending its annual I/O conference last week: We are committed to the enterprise.

How much that commitment translates into success is another story, and so far the search giant has failed to establish a firm foothold in the enterprise. As Forrester Research VP and principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond tells CIO’s Matt Kapko, “Building up a sales and enablement channel, creating appeal for developers, and tapping into the successes of the consumer-facing Android (ecosystem) are all opportunities that haven’t yet been fully realized.”

While some people argue that Google’s biggest problem in the enterprise is Android fragmentation, Hammond points to shortcomings in customer engagement and support. “Other direct channel players from the consumer space have discovered that using partners and self-provisioning is not always sufficient to meet the need of these buyers,” he tells CIO. “Google seems to still be learning that lesson.”

For the Android maker, it’s a lesson worth learning because the enterprise represents a huge opportunity. But Google made clear at I/O that its success in the enterprise will come through the cloud. Kapko quotes Diane Greene, senior vice president of Google Cloud, who told an I/O audience:

“The IT industry is over a trillion dollar industry and we’re going to be able to support a huge portion of (it) with Google Cloud. What’s happening with the cloud is all of a sudden we’re enabling developers to build these powerful apps without having to know so much about everything else. This is a major revolution, this move to the cloud. It’s the biggest revolution in my lifetime in IT.”

Cloud-based development is enticing because it enables better collaboration and faster product roll-outs. Further, the cloud is integral to another element of Google’s enterprise strategy — Chrome OS, which powers the inexpensive, cloud-based Chromebook devices that are becoming staples of the education market and making inroads into the enterprise. Further, as TechCrunch reports, soon users will be able to run Android apps on their Chromebooks.

Will Google’s cloud-based enterprise strategy pay off? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.


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