new report from Forrester analyst Jeffrey Hammond makes the case that Google's support for open-source is endearing the company to developers, who will in turn use Google's development tools to drive enterprise penetration. Hammond also argues that the company's appeal to end-users, through search and tools like Google Docs, will encourage IT managers to spring for Google's enterprise services like Google Apps.A
Hammond cites Google's strong support for open-source as one reason to be optimistic about Google's future in the enterprise. He notes that past Forrester surveys had found that awareness of open-source on the part of enterprise decision makers often lagged its actual adoption. In other words, employees were using open-source solutions to solve problems, but management wasn't always aware of it. The situation has been changing: management is increasingly aware of the benefits of open-source.
Google's development of of the open-source video codec WebM and its open source Google Web Toolkit, its support for HTML5, and the announcement of the Chrome Web Store all work to encouraging enterprise developers to use Google tools.
Meanwhile, Android is slowly making inroads in the enterprise. Android support in the enterprise has grown from 2% in Forrester's Enterprise And SMB Networks And Telecommunications Survey in Q1 2009 to 13% in 2010. Android's use of Java gives developers a familiar set of tools a straight-forward path for development.
Hammond calls information workers Google's "Trojan horse" for enterprise adoption. Forrester's Workforce Technographics Survey, from Q3 2009, found 39% have used online productivity tools such as Google Docs for work related purposes. Hammond speculates this sort of independent end-user adoption will spur further enterprise adoption. "If you've been in the enterprise IT space for any length of time, Google's strategy should feel familiar to you; it's right out of Microsoft's playbook," write Hammond. "As Google appeals to individual users, it opens up a pathway into enterprise IT budgets."
The report concludes that critics shouldn't dismiss Google's enterprise ambitions as half-baked, and encourages decision makers to strongly consider Google's platforms for enterprise application development.