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With Valeo deal, Google Apps gains business cred

Cloud-based applications are starting to see serious enterprise adoption. Google announces a new 30,000-seat, worldwide deal with industrial group Valeo.

Gmail may not yet have the same footprint as Microsoft Exchange, but megadeals such as a recently announced 30,000-seat installation at Valeo prove that large enterprises are comfortable running applications in the cloud.

Valeo, an "independent industrial group fully focused on the design, production, and sale of components, integrated systems, and modules for cars and trucks," is deploying Google Apps, supported by Capgemini, in a phased approach throughout 2009 ultimately serving the 193 Valeo entities in 27 countries. The adoption of Google Apps among those units is part of a program to reduce administrative expenses.

As a first step, users are being given access to Google sites, online documents, video management, and instant messaging, including voice and video chat, in order to improve teamwork. The new system will then offer applications to further enhance the company's efficiency, such as an enterprise directory and work flow tools to automate administrative processes.

In the final stage, users will benefit from Google mail, calendar, search, and online-translation solutions to reinforce personal efficiency. They will be able to access the applications from a desktop, laptop, or other mobile device.

It's not totally clear what role a systems integrator plays in this scenario--my guess is that Cap Gemini will do the initial work to build out processes and work flow, and then manage the e-mail migration as the company starts the deployment of Gmail to its staff worldwide. After that, the ongoing support would seem to be rather minimal.

Somewhere down the line, the necessity of SIs in relation to cloud solutions will become more obvious. There are a few companies, such as Appirio that specialize in the development and customization of on-demand applications, but so far, no single SI has figured out how to create a sustained revenue flow.

Of course, they probably shouldn't--a big part of why companies are choosing on-demand or cloud-based infrastructures is to remove the expense of the SI middleman, in addition to removing the overhead of maintaining the systems and software on their own.

(Note: I wrote extensively about moving entirely to the cloud in a December 2008 piece titled "Cloud computing to the max.")

Via Seeking Alpha

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