Google has announced that it will provide email services to 35,000 employees of giant British-based business services group, Rentokil Initial, in a deal that analysts expect may bring in up to $3.5 million per annum.
Bryan Kinsella, chief information officer at RI, said that "The company has evolved with each business buying its own systems. We also acquired a number of companies. We had difficulty in sending email across the company".
It is understood that up to 40 email systems will be consolidated in a massive overhaul that will see RI get rid of a mix of open source and Microsoft Exchange system. Around one in every seven staff at RI used Microsoft Outlook prior to the agreement.
The migration is also set to cost RI less than half what it would have cost to maintain the email servers inhouse. It is not known whether the deal will actually mean replacing the desktop clients with web-based ones (i.e. accessing inboxes online) and moving archives online.
Rentokil Initial chose Google Apps after a 100-day trial period throughout one of its division. The rollout will be staggered well into 2010 and is likely to cover email, calendering, collaboration and video conferencing. One can expect Google to roll out the Google Apps to the rest of the employees if the current plans are successful.
The head of Google Enterprise in the UK, Ireland and Benelux, Robert Whiteside, said: “The good thing about cloud computing is that companies can decide to procure a service for a year. It is incumbent on the provider to make sure that at the end of the year our customers are happy with us. So there is more flexibility around that." (ed: why did Google lump UK, Ireland and French speaking Benelux altogether?)
Will Google roll out Wave at Rentokil Initial? Don't count on it. After Valeo, Google has managed to capture yet another big client which has embraced the concept of Software-as-a-service. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft react to the SAAS menace in 2010.