Louis Nauges (France) - State of the Cloud / SaaS markets in France and Europe

Cloud Computing is big global news. But it is particularly pertinent here in France where two events illustrate the pioneering role of some of the largest French companies in embracing SaaS solutions on the Cloud:

February 22th, 2007: Google Enterprise made its worldwide announcement of Google Apps Premier Edition, the paid version for enterprises, in Paris and Mountain View at the same time. Why Paris? Many of the "early adopters", organizations which had tested the solution before the official launch, were large French organizations like L'Oreal or Valeo.

Early 2008: Valeo become the largest industrial company to announce they would switch 30,000 users from Lotus Notes to Google Apps.

Here at Revevol, we have played a very active role in the evangelization and implementation of Cloud solutions in these innovative companies. In this article we intend to briefly discuss what we have learnt over these three years.

First and foremost we have found that most organizations start their transition to the Cloud, one application at the time. Of course, CRM and Salesforce were the early leaders, but Google Apps is quickly becoming the most successful SaaS application deployed in France. It is clear that CIOs have a key role on the decision making process but, in the end, CEOs have the final say on these large projects. What is more, most implementations take place in three economic sectors: industry, distribution and services. Public sector and banks have been slow to accept Cloud Computing. Large and rapid cost savings have been the number one driver for these implementations!

In 2009, most "legacy vendors" of infrastructures and applications reacted to the threats of pure players like Salesforce and Google with the launch of their "Private Clouds" pitches against public clouds and their alleged lack of security or confidentiality. The diagram above has proved very efficient in explaining to CEOs and CIOs how to migrate their IT environments towards both families of Cloud Computing. The key messages are very straightforward:

Any application which is not "browser based" is not ... a SaaS/cloud application. This is an absolute requirement at the infrastructure level.

Usages are segmented in three families:

Business Process: linked to the very specific activities of an organization. An application which can be sold to a bank and is of no interest for a chemical company fits in this group.

Support Process: "horizontal" applications which have value for all organizations, regardless of their sector. Salesforce for CRM, SuccessFactors for performance management, Adaptative planning for financial reporting are some of the main vendors.

Social Computing: represents "universal" usages, regardless of the size, sector or country of an organization. Office 2.0 solutions, where Google Apps is today a key player, will replace all legacy applications like Microsoft Office, Exchange, Sharepoint or Lotus Notes. Over the coming decade, 1 000 millions Office users will have made the transition to Public Clouds! New, innovative applications like social networks, blogs, microblogging or wikis will be implemented directly on Public Clouds. It would not make any sense to deploy "Twitter" in a private Cloud!

Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) is heavily used today by legacy vendors against the pure players of the Cloud Computing. They may be able to slow down the speed at which organizations move to the Cloud; they will not be able to stop it!

About Revevol

Launched in 2007, Revevol is a "pure player" consulting company in the Cloud / SaaS world, focusing most of its activities on Google Apps for large and medium sized organizations. Revevol has offices in 15 different countries, in four continents.



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