Google Apps has picked up another big customer win in UK left-leaning publishing firm Guardian News & Media (GNM), which publishes The Guardian and The Observer newspapers and the website.

GNM will make the paid-for Google Apps Premier Edition available to about 2400 users as part of a drive to revamp collaborative processes. Google Apps includes the Docs line of desktop productivity tools, plus mail, calendaring, video and other capabilities.

Andy Beale, technology director of enterprise operations at GNM, said that the firm has already begun the deployment, which is likely to see the staged exit of Lotus Notes and put pressure on Microsoft Office’s desktop grip.

“Google Apps was definitely bought as an additional tool set, but Lotus Notes will be disappearing as a result of this,” Beale said. “It will take a while because we have a range of applications running on Domino but Notes as a mail platform will be phased out, I suspect.

“Domino/Notes was a product ahead of its time and Lotus is still probably the most credible enterprise vendor [in the space], but in terms of what we’re losing [through the change], it’s not a lot. The problem with things like Notes is they’re trying to be all sorts of things and today’s products don’t have that baggage.”

Beale said that thick-client strengths such as offline capabilities offered little to companies in the media that depend on workflow and added that adopting Google Apps was “one of the easiest financial decisions to make”.

Microsoft could also be hurt by GNM’s Google move. Most of the firm’s Mac clients – about half the total estate -- have already moved to the OpenOffice suite.

“We’re promoting [Google Docs] as the primary productivity application because it’s simply a better collaborative app,” Beale said. “It will give us some options when we came to our Microsoft licences.”

Several UK organisations have signed up for Google Apps recently, including the Telegraph Media Group, construction giant Taylor Woodrow, and the University of Westminster].

Beale said he expects the trend to continue:

“We’re in a really significant period of time. [Desktop and messaging fields] have been dominated for a long time by Microsoft and IBM but it’s a good time [to switch] if you’re prepared to go a bit early. If you look at what 90 per cent of people do, Google is perfectly adequate and a lot cheaper and simpler to use.”

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