Online grocery retailer Ocado is deploying Google Apps for Business for 1,250 staff, with the aim of cutting costs and improving productivity.

Ocado said the cloud-based product suite will facilitate remote working, improve productivity and boost internal communication for head office staff and regional managers. Staff will be able to log in from any secure internet connection to access their emails, documents, calendar and other internal information.

Hosted in Google’s secure cloud, staff will have access to tools such as Google Talk and Google Docs. Ocado will also use Google Sites to develop a branded web landing page for staff. Ocado’s marketing team will be able to use this page to produce internal announcements in video form, using Google Video.

The 25GB of storage provided by GMail will also ensure that Ocado no longer experiences issues with staff reaching mailbox limits and regularly using up their time managing messages, the company said.

Ocado moves into the cloud with Google AppsOcado says Google Apps will reduce its IT costs - saving on servers, back-up space, support and maintenance - whilst in the longer term eradicating costly upgrades and licence fees. Ocado will also use the Postini Message Security feature included in Google Apps to replace its legacy spam filter system, leading to further cost savings.

Jon Rudoe, head of retail at Ocado, said, “At Ocado we aren’t afraid to challenge conventions and do things differently. We love the fact that Google Apps continues to innovate and develop new features and are excited about the benefits we expect to see across the business.”

The phased rollout will be completed by early next month. Ocado boasts 21,000 product lines including Waitrose- and John Lewis-branded goods. Non-food lines include toys, magazines, kitchenware and fresh flowers.  

Google says three million businesses worldwide are using some form of Google Apps to help run their operations.

Google and a reseller of its products have filed a lawsuit against the US Department of the Interior, after the agency solicited bids for cloud-based email and messaging services specifying that bidders must use Microsoft products.

Google and reseller Onix Networking filed the lawsuit last Friday in the US Court of Federal Claims. The contract, worth up to $59.3 million over five years, tells bidders they must deploy Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite-Federal (BPOS) package to deliver the services.