Yesterday I attended the "Google Atmopshere on Tour" event in Toronto - and a very well spent afternoon it was too !
The event is a showcase of "Google Apps for the Enterprise" and provided us with a number of speakers, and an opportunity at the end of the afternoon to interact with Googlers, their partners and to play with kit like Chromebooks. You can find details and see if the tour is visiting your city, or one near you by clicking here: http://www.atmosphereontour.com/en/
The opening Keynote was Toronto local Don trapscott, who was both thought provoking and humerous; a good way to start any event. Thanks to Don and Google for providing all attendees with a hardback copy of Macrowikinomics too !
We then had a Michael Lock - VP of Enteprise Sales who did an entertaining session with a focus on the consumerisation of enterprise IT; even using his children as example use cases. I think by now, we all understand the old "I have better IT at home than I have in the office...." arguments, but it was a good session.
We then had an amazing demo session by a very very high energy and highly enthusiastic Googler who's name I did not write down (for which I apologize) but it touched on Gmail, Drive, Docs, Vault, Sites, Big Query, App platform, etc - in a very well structured and easy to digest format. A very good demo of capabilities indeed.
The best part though, for me, was to get to discuss my proposition for enterprise IT with a Google exec (at last.....!). So we had a quick chat about my proposition that putting Google App's in a rack mount appliance like the GSA would be a good idea for those organizations (like mine) that are not ready to leap to the cloud. He suggested that while it might actually bring in short term profit for Google, in the long run it would run against their philosphical proposition that the "cloud" is secure enough, private enough, and basically good enough for all classes of organizations.
I did not get the chance to ask why we can't have Google Voice in Canada (yes, Harper Government and Rogers-Bell duopoly - we are looking at you !).
Bottom line, I actually don't think Google is "enterprise" enough - their implementation partners range from Sheepdog to Accenture to be sure, but I think their real sweet spot remains the SMB sector - and that is not an endictment of the cloud per se. SalesForce are way more "enterprise" than Google because that has been their focus. Google remains an consumer web company that can apply it's tech and resources to "enterprise" IT problems, but that does not make them the "go to guys" for the CIO's of very big organizations (although of course, they do have some such customers !).
All in all, a great, interesting and useful event - thanks Google :-)