Google Launches Enterprise Partner Program

In a move meant to help enterprises search existing data deep in legacy systems, Google has launched a partner program that will enable Google enterprise search to be integrated into existing data management and storage programs.

Google today launched Google Enterprise Professional, a bid to reach out to service providers, systems integrators and consultants and move Google’s enterprise search products deeper into the business network realm by helping users access data that is otherwise unreachable by Google’s enterprise search appliance.

“Our customers get Google Enterprise Search up and running in a couple of days and it’s all good, but then employees find they can’t search this or that certain database,” Google Enterprise General Manager Dave Girouard told the E-Commerce Times. “There’s a desire to get more and more content into that search appliance. But there are some data silos, a lot of them home-grown or proprietary, that we don’t reach into.”

Girouard said the partnership is needed because Google doesn’t offer the type of professional consulting required to build Google search capabilities into such specialized programs.

While a first batch of partners has already been trained, new would-be partners can sign up through the Google Web site at www.google.com/enterprise/gep. Google requires a US$10,000 payment to enable companies to sign onto the program, which includes the cost of training and the use of the Google Enterprise Professional logo.

Early Sign-Ons

Michael Cizmar, president of consulting firm MC+A in Chicago, said the Google program will save enterprises time and training costs because most people are already familiar with searching with Google.

Cizmar’s firm is one of the first batch of partners to sign up for the program and undergo on-site training from Google. The firm, which specializes in Microsoft’s SharePoint and Plumtree portal technology, plans to use what it learned to help customers build site maps of the data on their systems.

While most portal applications have search functions, they are often brand-new to users. “I’ve been on engagements where search integration has taken three to six months,” Cizmar added. “When you’re talking about searching with Google, just about everyone in an enterprise should have some experience with the tool. People know what to expect, so you lower your implementation costs and reduce the need for training.”

Other early partners who are already trained in the Google program upon its launch include mainframe integration firms such as Neon Systems, business intelligence firms such as StoredIQ and metadata management firms such as Metamatrix. One firm, LMN Solutions, will build Google search into programs used in various Department of Defense agencies, Girouard said.

Growing Segment

Though several major search players have divested their enterprise units in recent years, Google says it is committed to the space.

“Google is serious about this business,” Girouard said. “We continue to broaden our investment in terms of sales and marketing and this is another step forward. Enterprise search is an important part of our business, a big part of our future.”

To date, enterprise search is still a small part of the overall Google business. But Girouard said it is experiencing 100 percent revenue growth and remains profitable.

Google has made a number of moves aimed at capturing more business in the corporate search space. In January, it rolled out the Google Mini, a scaled-down version of its search appliance. Three months later it cut prices on those devices in a bid to attract more small businesses to use the hardware. In May it launched an enterprise desktop search product.

Analysts say while Google may face an uphill battle to win space in the high-end enterprise sector, where several specialty firms are well entrenched, smaller businesses also collect more digital data than ever before and need ways to search it effectively. Those businesses are also likely to be more familiar and comfortable with Google technology than with firms that specialize in enterprise search.

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