To the list of unintended consequences add the creation of a two-tiered system of applications and application users thanks to the phenomenon of Web 2.0 applications.
I realized this after speaking with Robert Brillhart, global practice lead, Customer Care and Intelligence [CC&I], Business Process Outsourcing Services for Capgemini.
As Brillhart tells it, Capgemini deployed Google Apps for the first time at a new CC&I service center in Junction City, Kansas, training 165 customer service reps and supervisors in only two hours on how to use Google Apps.
This is the first group of agents at Capgemini, there are a total of 2,500 agents worldwide, who were not given the full Microsoft Office suite for use with its customer care, CRM, application.
"These agents are not power users and number crunchers," Brillhart told me.
What Capgemini is doing is segmenting its users making a decision on which application to deploy based on what best suites that group.
"We are living in a blended environment and there is not one set of common apps," said Brillhart.
In other words, although all 80,000 Capgemini employees need word processing, spreadsheets and the like, not all of them need to use the same application. And now that there is a choice, a low cost choice, large companies like Capgemini will be taking advantage of it.
Think about this. With Microsoft owning a 90 percent plus market share for productivity applications, you could say for every new business user of Google Apps there is likely one less user of Microsoft Office.
Google Apps Premier Editin which includes Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calen-dar,Google Talk and Start Page, will cost Capgemini $50 per user, annually.
That’s right, not per month but annually.
Brillhart believes that this kind of segmentation, where the power users stay with the power apps like Microsoft office while those employees who mainly live in a single application like CRM, will use less complex software that includes all the essentials, will spread across enterprise-level companies.
"This will happen rapidly, especially for companies that have a pyramid of labor, with a larger portion of employees having a lower end demand usage."
If your company has an inverted pyramid--more power users than part-time users--it won’t work.
However, Google Apps is by no means a bare bones set of productivity applications. It gives Capgemini’s service reps the ability to share a spreadsheet where all agents can see, view and edit on the fly to identify issues that ordinarily they would bring up after the fact.
Instant messages, emails are also part of the package.
The use of IT resources are also reduced simply because there is no need to support an email server and file share servers.
Google Apps may not answer all a company’s needs. That is the point I’m trying to make. But with little need for support, a low barrier to training and enough capability to keep a large segment of the company happy we, will see segmentation not only in productivity applications but in other kinds of applications as well as Web 2.0 and SaaS extends its reach.