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Google Agrees Landmark Deal With BBVA For Google Apps

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Spanish bank’s 110,000 staff will use Google Apps for Business by the end of 2012

Google has agreed a deal with Spanish bank, BBVA, for it to use Google Apps for Business, the largest contract for its web-based suite of communication and collaboration product yet.

The search engine giant has labelled the contract an “arguably landmark deal” as the financial sector has so far been reluctant to adopt public cloud technologies due to security concerns.

Landmark Deal

BBVA will roll out Google Apps such as Gmail, Google chat, Calendar, Docs, Groups, Sites and Videos to its 110,000 staff across 26 countries by the end of 2012, as part of its strategy on technological innovation.

The bank’s global intranet will change from being a corporate communications and process management site to a place where employees can share and collaborate.

Google says that workers will be more flexible and mobile as they will be able to access the tools on any internet connected device, and that it will improve productivity as multiple users will be able to collaborate on one document rather than updating several different versions of the same file.

“Companies of all sizes, including those with tens of thousands of employees, are now embracing cloud computing,”commented Sebastien Marotte, vice president of Google Enterprise EMEA. “It means a lot to us that BBVA, one of the largest financial institutions in the world, has decided to migrate to Google Apps. It shows that cloud computing is now a reality – and leading organisations are already realising its potential to transform their business.”

Cloud Wars

“We were looking for a technology that would transform our business operations – not just make our workers more efficient,” added Jose Olalla, CIO at BBVA. “Integrating the Google Apps for Business suite with our own tools will allow us to introduce a new way of working where employees have access to all the information they need with just one click, no matter where they are, and can reap the benefits of using advanced collaboration tools.”

Google has been keen to increase the number of businesses using its Google Apps for Business service, which costs $50 (£31) per user, per year. In November it added full 24-7 telephone support to encourage customers who want an alternative to Microsoft software, but its spreadsheet and presentation applications have been criticised for their lack of functionality.

Google Apps for Business currently competes with Microsoft’s own cloud-based offering, Office 365.