Bragging rights: Valeo’s 30,000 Google Apps users announced

It’s been a long time in coming but I can finally tell you all about what originally brought me to France. Back in 2007 as a strategic consultant I designed, delivered and demonstrated a proof of concept of a complete cloud computing user environment (before it was even called cloud computing) to Valeo in a competitive tender, before handing over to CapGemini for deployment later that year.

What’s particularly noteworthy (aside from the sheer scale) is that while many cloud computing deployments are tactical, with a view to reaching a specific goal (e.g. mail scanning, web security, shared calendaring, video hosting, etc.), this one was a high level strategy to replace as much of the existing infrastructure as possible. I also installed three Google Search Appliances as part of the solution and integrated same with a complex Active Directory and Lotus Notes infrastructure.

Granted this hasn’t been a big secret for a while now but it’s the first time the full details have officially emerged. Sergey Brin first bragged about it on Google’s Q2 earnings call last year while talking about Google Apps’ successes:

Just to give you color on what some of these businesses include, in this past quarter Valeo, one of the world’s leading automotive suppliers now has 32,000 users using Google Apps, including of course Gmail, Calendar, Docs and so forth.

Congratulations to everyone at CapGemini, Google and of course Valeo for making this a success.

Valeo launches an innovative initiative with Google to reduce administrative expenses

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Valeo today announced that the Group’s 30,000 Internet-connected employees now have access to a new communication and collaborative working platform based on Google Apps Premier Edition and supported by Capgemini.

The progressive roll-out of the new system is giving employees access to a suite of online products which will increase administrative efficiency and improve collaboration between the 193 Valeo entities in 27 countries.

“We were searching for an innovative way to reduce significantly our office infrastructure costs while simultaneously improving user collaboration and productivity,” said André Gold, Valeo’s Technical Senior Vice-President. “Our pilot projects demonstrate that this target is achievable.”

Valeo is deploying Google Apps, supported by Google’s partner Capgemini, in a phased approach throughout 2009. As a first step, users are being given access to Google sites, on-line documents, video management and instant messaging, including voice and video chat, in order to improve teamwork. The new system will then offer applications to further enhance the company’s efficiency, such as an Enterprise directory and workflow tools to automate administrative processes. In the final stage, users will benefit from Google mail, calendar, search and on-line translation solutions to reinforce personal efficiency. They will be able to access the applications from a desktop, laptop or other mobile device.

“The cost savings and innovation made possible by cloud computing help businesses better respond to a global and mobile workforce – especially in today’s difficult economic environment,” said Dave Girouard, President, Google Enterprise. “We’re thrilled Valeo has selected Google.”

Valeo is an independent industrial Group fully focused on the design, production and sale of components, integrated systems and modules for cars and trucks. Valeo ranks among the world’s top automotive suppliers. The Group has 122 plants, 61 R&D centers, 10 distribution platforms and employs around 49,000 people in 27 countries worldwide.

For additional information, please contact:
Antoine Balas, Valeo Corporate Communications, Tel.: +33.1.40.55.29.36
Malgosia Rigoli, Corporate Communications, Google Enterprise EMEA, Tel.: +44207881 4537, malgosia@google.com

For more information about the Group and its activities, please visit our web site http://www.valeo.com

Update 1: Google France’s Laurent Guiraud (who worked closely with me on the proof of concept and who I have to thank for most of what I know about the Google Search Appliance) has written about it on the Official Google Blog: 30,000 new Google Apps business users at Valeo.

Update 2: The story is now featured on the Official Google Enterprise Blog as well.

Update 3: Said to be Google’s “biggest enterprise deal yet“.

Update 4: ReadWriteWeb have picked up the story: Google Apps Continues Push Into Enterprise: 30,000 New Users at Valeo.

Update 5: So have TechCrunchIT: Google Cloud:1. MS Office: 0. 

Update 6: ComputerWeekly report Google Apps gets first global customer

Update 7: BusinessWeek talk about it while asking What’s Holding Back Google Apps?

Update 8: InfoWeek report that Google’s Cloud Evangelism Converts Enterprise Customers

Update 9: The Register (incorrectly) report that “Cap Gemini has sold what it believes is the largest ever contract for Google’s online suite of software products“, only the deal was as good as done by the time they got it.

Update 10: Computer Business Review writes Google secures biggest ever apps contract

Update 11: CNET states With Valeo deal, Google Apps gains business cred