Enterprise is part of Google’s core business and is all about allowing people to collaborate and share more easily, particularly in a work setting. It aims to give employees instant messaging and collaborative tools without IT constrictions.
Pretty much everyone in the room is on board with what different bits of Enterprise offer and lots of us are behind the theory. But local government without IT constrictions? Well, that’s the promised land right? That’s the dream. And let’s not even start on the fact that Enterprise doesn’t work great with IE6 and most of us are handcuffed to it as a browser.
But let’s go with it and see the potential. Enterprise uses the cloud in order to allow many users access at the same time – Google Docs is a good example – stick a document in the cloud and then collaborate with many people synchronously editing and chatting about it via instant messaging. Hands up if you think Google Docs has a use in your organisation? Great! Hands up if IT has blocked access to Google Docs? Oh…
A lot of public sector concerns are with the security of putting things in the cloud (as opposed to the security of lugging sensitive documents around in a carrier bag). Google say it can answer these concerns. They also say they can authenticate against Active Directory, will investigate and rapidly deploy developments to the systems based on user feedback and that they’re working on beefing up security further because of the reliance on the cloud.
It’s impressive stuff. It’s shiny. It’s frustrating for an audience of people who collaborate day in and day out through tools like Twitter to be shown something they know they won’t be able to see when they return to the ranch. But once upon a time email was feared so maybe we’re just looking at the future and we need to coax public sector along this path.