State of California Selects CSC and BPOS! Google Can’t Meet Needs of the State.

Today, I am pleased to hear that the State of California awarded CSC a contract to migrate its current multiple e-mail applications to a cloud-based solution with Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS).Please take time to read more about the announcement

California is by far the most populous state in the United States and is responsible for roughly 13% of the entire US economy. Historically the state has always been a bell weather for many movements.  From the Gold Rush, to Movies to Surfing and then the Peace Movement and recently all things Technology.  Since they have selected BPOS as their solution I have to wonder if this is the beginning of a new wave for cloud adoption in Fed/Stat/Local governments towards Microsoft. 

This decision for Microsoft is similar to recent announcements by the State of Minnesota's, Commonwealth of Kentucky DOE even the Royal Mail in the UK to upgrade their messaging and collaboration software with Microsoft's technology.

No Crying in the Cloud Unless it's Really Raining

Hockey great and current California resident Wayne Gretzky once said, "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take!". How true. So I found it odd when Google went very public with complaints of rigging and trickery on behalf of the State during the bid process only to later acknowledge Google Apps couldn't meet the needs of the state. Such a PR smoke screen is a way to go on the offense with ton's of players so no one notices you have an empty net. Gretzky would be proud. 

What's even more odd about Google's tactics are that from what I understand some of their questions and concerns were answered or remedied by the State.  The Ad Company complained that many of the requirements put forth were too Microsoft centric or simply wrong to ask for in the first place.  Some of these radical features included elements like:

  • allowing a user to create a mail 'folder'
  • 'request delivery receipt' for a email. 
  • 'ability to invite attendees as optional in calendar notices.'
  • 'ability to create calendar appointments or task while off line'

Sorry Google, these are actual features used in businesses, especially in government where understanding and tracking information flow can be the law.

It's not unfair for a company in any sector to request a set of features that reflect how they work. I've said it many times before, developing software is hard.  It's gets harder the more users you get because everyone has different needs.  As a software company you balance this by building for what they need AND building for what you know they'll want.  Google must understand that simply showing up isn't good enough. Despite their attractive price, more and more customers share that 'you get what you pay for'.

What Happened to Outlook Sync?

Part of the State's bid apparently asked for support for Microsoft Outlook.  Ironically,  Google objected to this despite their very active promotion, advertising and continued development for their Google Apps Sync for Outlook which they claim can support the 'familiarity of Outlook with the Power of Google Apps'.   This sync tool (connector) frankly is a disaster because Gmail is so stripped down and because IT has deploy more software to every machine.   The tool doesn't even allow syncing of delegation rights and has 8 issues with a recurring meetings in your calendar. 

Remember, Google just announced the ability to turn off conversation/threaded messages a few weeks ago after passionate users  who didn't like this 'one size fits' all approach pleaded for another option. Google buckled but not without calling such people Cilantro haters, aka 'whiners'. 

The Horizon

It's possible Google will make another round of news out of this with more protests. While they contemplate their next move, we'll be busy looking to the horizon, in of all places, California.


Comments (32)

  1. Anonymous says:

    @Jim  Okay, so I corrected your mistake and also added another example of the sync tool issues. So how about the fact that the Exec can NOT see emails sent on their behalf via delegation this way?  Small issue huh? Or the fact that the Admin has access to everything, regardless of how Outlook sets 'private' etc.  

    Please tell you don't think these are issues no one cares about?  At Dito I hope you share such issues with your prospective customers to help them understand the tradeoffs of this approach?

    If I am wrong about my facts I am happy to correct them. If you disagree with them, that's okay, but lets use the same set of facts to have a real debate.

  2. Anonymous says:

    @Jim  Thanks for the continued response. Delegation and a Shared Inbox/Calendar are different.  Delegation for corporate users means not only ability to designate (delegate) a specified user to have access but also comes with rules of access about what they can see, do etc. This is a very important element in many businesses and in some cases can be legal exposure.   Many other vendors in the past have built Outlook Sync Tools like Google and failed, you can read a Burton (now Gartner) write up here.…/using-outlook-as-a-client-challenges-for-google.html

    I appreciate you give customer's more options. Despite your view, there are very few features you can do in Google that did not exist in Microsoft before.  Now we can talk price but customers arent bailing on Office and Google's own promotion of the marketplace shows that customer need, must and are supplemented the weak Google Apps solution with features included in Office.  Cost Savings?  Arguable.

    It's okay for us to go tit for tat. Remember this post was about the requirement of the State of California, so my points are germaine to that topic. Outlook rick client is NOT required for our solution.  Outlook Web Acess was one of the first Ajax enabled browser apps ever.  it still is available and customers love it becuase it has many capabilities but no PC app required.  Biggest excitement for Mac users?  Outlook coming to the Mac.  Sorry, hard to argue that people actually really like Outlook.    My points about duplication of effort may sound but over time they create a tax for IT.  Aisle 7 (`40users) left Google Apps for this reason alone.  Office 365 is cloud and allows the benefits of SaaS you extol, so not sure your poit there.  And no idea who told you need to leave your machine on to have an Out of Office message served?  That's from the server and can be set from Outlook Web Access. So I can't resist claiming you don't know your competition.

    How is Google killing Microsoft in the cloud?  Fidelity is paramount. I had a customer endanger lives of people b/c they used Google. They shared chemical formulas in Word docs up to Google. Someone later realized elements were missing downstream.  And for Governements like State of CA, it's the LAW!  You can't alter documents in any way or they are invalid as part of the public record.  This is real stuff. I get fidelity may not occur for the team rowing club but for businesses it sure does matter.  Your math also seems to fly in the face of all accepted convention wrt to docuement risk management, redo and costs to rework documents. This isnt new. We've faced it in earlier versions of Office and OpenOffice as well.

    Google spreads a large amount of inaccuracies that create noise. Their Enterprise division has LOST REVENUE three quarters in a row.  Sorry, that's fact.  So the run away train you claim is on the tracks isnt true.  My goal is to call them on their gaps as no one in the media/digital sphere seems to hold them accountable for such FUD.    

  3. Anonymous says:

    @Jim  The Google Apps Outlook sync tool does not replicate Outlook rules to Gmail.  Users must go into the Gmail dashboard to SET delegation properties.  So unfortunately you are incorrect.  For example a CEO can not sit within Outlook set delegation and be 'done'. S/He must go to the gmail dashboard and set the policy.  Just like out of office.  You must set your out of office/auto respond email in BOTH locations.

  4. Anonymous says:

    @mikhail  LOL>  Great point.  Maybe they'd be better off using Google Apps Mail Goggles, Extra Emoji or 'Old Snakey' games in their email!  Doing math equations before you are allowed to hit the send button is a boost to anyone's day.

  5. Jim McNelis says:

    facts mixed with fiction.  while i agree google should have sucked it up and bid against you guys on the project, inaccurate statements like: "The tool doesn't even allow syncing of delegation rights" (google apps sync does allow delegation of mail and calendar), tells me (1) you don't really understand you competition (2) you can't let the facts speak for themselves…you have to make stuff up.  kudos on your win for the state's email solution.  enjoy the tail end of you dominance in this space.  

    this article is 90% a dig on google and 10% celebration of your win.  stay classy, microsoft.

  6. Jim McNelis says:

    Hello Andrew,

    So the fact that delegation rights "sync" from Google App to Outlook doesn't matter?  According to your response, what is important is the 30 seconds it takes to login via a browser and delegate access to your admin? I guess it doesn't matter that admins can use Outlook with Google Apps to manage delegated Email, Calendar, & Contacts?  That's delegation rights.  Not setting it up in Outlook.  Nice try.

  7. Mohamed Elsherif says:

    Way to go BPOS team, keep it up, let's show everybody what Enterprise really is.

  8. Jim McNelis says:

    Hi again Andrew,

    I don't agree that you corrected *my* mistake…"delegation rights" means the ability to proxy to someone's Mail, Calendar, & Contacts to me, and many others as well.  You disagree?  I feel like I brought some clarity to your FUD.  Do other systems besides your own even come close to the interoperability that Google has achieved with respect to Outlook synchronization for Mail, Calendar, & Contacts?

    At Dito, it is about customer choice, but primarily we train users how to use the web interface with Google Apps, since moving away from locally installed software like Microsoft Outlook saves companies big bucks avoiding additional licensing and support costs for Outlook and you can actually achieve a lot more functionality in a browser using Google Apps.

    Having switched several hundred companies off of Exchange, and working on some of the largest Google Apps deployments to date, I can say with some certainty that Outlook sync is not at the top of anyone's list.  Yea, it usually starts there, until someone like Dito shows them how to unlock the power of Google Apps in their browser.  After that, there is no looking back.  

    We sit on 2 different sides of the fence here.  We can go tit for tat on Google's sync with Outlook all day…like Google's current inability to sync Outlooks OOO with Google's Vacation Responder, but that's not what C-level execs are really focused on.  Let's not forget you have to leave your computer on and wasting energy for Outlook's OOO to work.  Google's Vacation Responder is in the cloud.  Instead decision makers are looking to leverage the low-cost model of cloud computing that comes with contant innovation and upgrades, without the dreaded "Patch Tuesday" and the downtime that comes with your updates and unstable cloud offerings.

    Let's talk about collaboration instead, and how Google is KILLING Microsoft when it comes to collaboration the cloud.  Sure, fidelity is important, but fidelity /= to perfect formatting with proprietary formats like Microsoft Word.  How many proposals have been won or lost due to a fancy border or snazzy 3d font?  I'd venture to guess that what is in the document counts a lot more, and the time saved by allowing a team to collaborate all at once on the same document, without any software outside of a browser, on ANY platform, takes the cake over pivot tables for 80%+ of users out there.  

    Does Google Apps do everything Exchange and Outlook does?  Nope.  Does Exchange/Outlook doe everything that Google Apps does?  No there as well.  But I do see you guys adding features like threaded email to Outlook, and taking every opportunity to take pop-shots at Google Apps.  If your product was as solid as you make it out to be, and Google Apps wasn't a serious threat to your current customer-base, you guys wouldn't even bother writing about them.  Articles like this validate Google Apps arrival to the enterprise space, rather than diminish their recent inroads, despite your best attempts.

  9. John McLear says:

    Jim > *

  10. Blizzard of Oz says:

    Google is killing MS in collaboration?  How so?  Google Sites is rubbbish and Docs is worse than OpenOffice.  How do people collaborate on the stuff they create?   I think Google expects everyone to do everything on a website, so they can mine it for data and get more ad revenue. Actually wait, they do that regardless (but do give you an option to turn it off).  And Jim's talking about keeping it classy?

    The only thing GoogApps is killing is productivity.  By the way, don't most of the Google sales staff use PowerPoint for sales presentations?  Hmmm

  11. Mikhail Poda says:

    I understand CA office workers very well, I also could not imagine being productive without such nice helpers like Clippy – Office Assistant. I also can not understand how search could possibly work without the sweet puppy Rover – Search Companion! If Googgle is not offering such features they are a failed company!

  12. Shame really... says:

    Microsoft solutions have huge TCO, high levels of insecurity and are unreliable.

    On second thought, it's a perfect fit for California.

  13. itguy08 says:

    "Fidelity is paramount. I had a customer endanger lives of people b/c they used Google. They shared chemical formulas in Word docs up to Google. Someone later realized elements were missing downstream."

    That's their fault for using a proprietary format (MS Word) for sharing critical data.  If fidelity is important and that critical, you use PDF.  It works 99.9999% on ALL platforms.

    But then again MS has a stake in spreading FUD and locking people to MS solutions.  Even those solutions are usually the worst out there.

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