Already a name to reckon with in the email services industry, Google is steadily working its way into the midst of New Zealand business, acquiring clients for its mail as well as its application platforms. Some of the software developed locally in New Zealand is also facilitating this surge in the presence of Google in the south-western Pacific island nation.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS

Christchurch-based Tait Radio Communications is the most recent company to give Google the go ahead, deciding to substitute up to five different email platforms to standardise on Google’s email client, Gmail. George Elder, Tait’s chief information officer, said the move was driven by a necessity for an advanced stage of collaboration as the organization seeks to evolve into a single worldwide company, instead of a New Zealand based company with worldwide branches.

Elder stated that prior to the move, each office had its own email platforms, calendars and domains. This meant rising costs for the company as Tait would have to house and manage softwares and servers, which would be complex as well as expensive. But by standardising and synchronising all offices with Gmail, everything can be made simpler.

He did admit that the move was cost-neutral upfront, but went on to say that cost of upgrades on the existing systems in the future makes this decision a cost effective one.

OTHER GOOGLE PRODUCTS BEING CONSIDERED

Tait has not yet made a decision on shifting to Google’s other business offering, Google Apps, for tasks such as word processing, spreadsheeting and other functions, but Elder said that such an option may be evaluated later.

Another example of Google being used in New Zealand companies is the NZ Post applying Google’s Apps platform worldwide when its Postal Services Group shifted away from Microsoft’s software for 2100 staff last year. The main aim was to save up to $2 million over a period of three years, primarily on infrastructure costs rather than licensing costs.

Tools such as Gmail, instant messaging, video chat, Google Docs and Sites took over from Microsoft’s Outlook and Exchange and possibly Microsoft’s collaboration platform SharePoint, according to the group’s manager of capability, Tracy Voice.

Elder claims that the staff at Tait use mail as a filing system and the migration to Gmail hasn’t affected this activity one bit. Director of WaveAdept, Mike Riversdale, which undertook the project, said one issue was the capability of administrators to use their own company’s mail accounts. To access a standard Gmail account, would require a search warrant. To counter this issue, Google has developed an interface they can use to access their corporate mail boxes, but it needs software tools to be usable. This is where Hapara, a Wellington based firm, enters the scene. Hapara has developed a range of tools to make business use of Gmail easier. One of them, Hapara’s Access Manager, gave Tait the access that it needed. The entire project displayed that the efficient use of email gives rise to opportunities to boost productivity.

Ease of use and flexibility in any situation are what has made Google a legend in the corporate world and going by their New Zealand operations, they aim to keep up that reputation.