Google Apps defeats Lotus, GroupWise in Australia


news Google’s popular Apps collaboration suite has knocked IBM’s Lotus Notes/Domino and Novell’s GroupWise platforms off their perch to become the second most popular office suite in Australian enterprises behind Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, analyst firm Telsyte revealed this week.

In the past, the market for collaboration suites was divided between three major players — Microsoft, IBM and Novell, with the trio battling it out for market share in major and minor Australian organisations throughout the 1990’s and 2000’s. Over time, however, Microsoft’s Outlook/Exchange ecosystem has become the dominant player, with the two suites from IBM and Novell falling away.
Yesterday, Telsyte revealed how far the pair have fallen, with new research from the analyst firm placing Google Apps — which only launched in 2006 — ahead of Lotus and Groupwise in terms of Australian market penetration.

According to a statement released by the company, it conducted a survey of more than 330 local chief information officers and senior IT decision-markers on their enterprise software use and intentions. While it found that many CIOs were still hesitant to move on-premise applications into the software as a service model which Google Apps uses, it also found that the application which CIOs most wanted to move to the cloud was email and groupware.

“The search engine giant’s Apps suite is now second only to Microsoft’s Exchange for enterprise market penetration in Australia and is ahead of more established products like Novell’s GroupWise and IBM’s Lotus Notes,” the company said.

Telsyte senior analyst Rodney Gedda said the growing maturity of cloud-based offerings would continue to take market share away from established on-premise applications. “The rise of Google Apps – and now Microsoft’s Office 365 offering – has demonstrated how the SaaS delivery model can take on more established software vendors by offering an on-demand access to the application,” Gedda said.

The news comes Google Apps appears to be developing something of a positive adoption trend amongst major Australian organisations. Earlier in August, for example, Google revealed Google Apps had been deployed to some 330,000 students, teachers and administrative staff at Catholic schools across Australia, in one of the largest local known rollouts of the platform so far. The news of CEnet’s deployment comes just weeks after media giant Fairfax announced plans to ditch Microsoft’s Office and Exchange platforms for most of its 11,000-odd staff, with the company to become one of the largest known Australian organisations to shift onto Google’s Apps platform for both email and office productivity software.

The news represented the first switch to Google Apps by a major Australian organisation announced this year. Although it announced a swag of sizable new Apps customers throughout 2010 and some in 2011, such as real estate agency Ray White, travel booking service Flight Centre, packaging company Visy and airline Jetstar, Google had not this year revealed any new major wins, with many in the IT industry believing that the momentum in the office productivity sector had swung back to Microsoft, with its ubiquitous Office and Exchange ecosystem. It appears that belief may have been premature.

One other organisation to recently deploy Google Apps to its Australian workforce was optometry chain Specsavers, which recently conducted a video interview with iTNews on the subject.

Telsyte said SaaS was not an established application delivery architecture in Australia in general, with between 30 and 40 percent of organisations using some type of SaaS applications. Popular SaaS applications used for business include Web serving and content management, intranet portals, storage, search and document management. Less popular SaaS applications are those used for more back office applications like accounting, billing and CRM.

Telsyte research indicated that most CIOs indentifed their core applications as being on-premise only, but many are using a SaaS app alongside an on-premise application.

“SaaS is well marketed as an efficient low-cost delivery model, but most CIOs don’t see setup costs or infrastructure requirements as high priorities when looking at SaaS options,” Gedda said. “The top priorities are around security and whether the application is unique and will bring value to the organization. The number of CIOs looking to move on-premise software to the cloud hovers between 10 and 20 per cent depending on the application and many are undecided or have no intention to move to a SaaS model.”

I’m not surprised to find that Google Apps has overtaken Lotus Notes/Domino and GroupWise in Australia. While we haven’t seen very many migrations off those platforms and onto Google Apps (most of those migrations tend to go to Exchange), we have seen a great of migrations off lesser platforms, or even older versions of Exchange, onto Google Apps. We especially see these migrations where there are ‘edge’ users such as students, retail workers who don’t need the full capabilities of desktop software, and part-time workers.

Personally, I think if Google was able to offer an on-premises deployment model for Google Apps, the company would see a great deal more customers. Similarly if it was able to offer services from an Australian datacentre. However, I don’t think we’re going to see either of these things anytime soon.

Image credit: Briony, Creative Commons


  1. Very interesting … and a good example of the emerging dynamic of innovation being driven primarily from the global consumer/mass markets into the enterprise sector. Lotus Notes in theory could have made this transition with Lotus Live but just had no way of achieving the critical mass of adoption in the cloud to effectively support its enterprise proposition. Google has become an over-the-top play for the enterprise software vendors in the same way that Skype and Apple TV are over-the-top plays for the telecoms vendors and media companies.

    Don’t underestimate Google Apps by positioning it for so called “edge workers” … who require only a lightweight solution … this lets corporate IT departments off the hook too easily. The best case study of hard-core use of Google Apps is Monash University. This is a $1B global organisation which uses Google Apps as its core collaboration/office automation platform … for all staff and students. The big innovation enabled by Google was the ability for the first time to get all staff and students using one integrated collaboration environment that is ubiquitously available via the Internet and smartphones. This was core to Monash’s business strategy, so the driver for choosing a cloud solution was to enable the achievement of business outcomes and innovation. It was not an IT thing, and not about cutting costs.

    The other key insight of this story is that the use of cloud platform like Google enabled Monash to cut through organisational dynamics which had frustrated previous attempts to consolidate, standardise and rationalise the email and collaboration platforms. When cloud is the platform agile is the behaviour … really!

    I have written a detailed (20 page) case study on the Monash/Google story:

    I’d be interested in any feedback that folks may have about their experiences of Google Apps at Monash University … I know some users prefer other solutions but as far as I can see the overall story is highly positive.

    Also, FYI, NSW Trade & Investment has a deployment of around 3,500 staff in Google Apps … this is the first adoption by an inner-budget agency in a State government in Australia … and the experience seems to have been positive so far. David Kennedy is doing great work driving innovation in this department.

  2. Hm, I don’t agree to the line “While we haven’t seen very many migrations off those [Lotus Notes and Groupwise] ]platforms and onto Google Apps.”
    I have delivered Lotus Notes application migration tooling (Notes2Apps) to different Australian companies.
    The majority of the migration to Google Apps may become from Exchange as Exchange is the number one. In relative terms, I think you see many movements to Google Apps from Lotus Notes. As Google Apps is the logical successor for Lotus Notes and Groupwise customers.

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