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Google Apps Wins Big Customer

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LONDON (Reuters) – British pest control to parcel delivery company Rentokil Initial has chosen Google to manage its electronic communications, making it the largest company to deploy Google’s Apps worldwide to date.

Rentokil, promoted to the FTSE 100 index in the latest reshuffle, said on Monday the move was part of its five-year turnaround plan and was as much about simplifying email systems as saving money.

“Today we have over 40 different systems which vary from open source systems to Microsoft Exchange to other complex arrangements, hosted both internally and externally,” chief information officer Bryan Kinsella told Reuters in an interview on Monday.

“We looked very carefully at rolling out server-based standard solutions and 15-18 months ago we looked at delivering the solution via the cloud.”

Cloud, or web-based applications, enable companies to access applications and data via the internet, eliminating the need for applications and data to be held on local dedicated servers.

“We felt the fastest way we could deliver the mail solution to the group was through the cloud,” Kinsella said. “The challenge for us has been creating capability, actually more importantly than cost saving.”

Google’s UK Head of Enterprise Robert Whiteside said 1.75 million businesses were using Google Apps, most of them small and medium-sized companies, but it had a number of larger organizations and Rentokil was its largest customers worldwide to date.

Companies initially worried about security concerns were increasingly confident about moving services into the cloud.

SunGard, a privately owned IT firm, said on Monday it had signed up a financial services company for the launch of its fully managed “private cloud” service in Britain.

Keith Tilley, UK managing director of Sungard Availability Services, said moving to the cloud enabled companies to cut capital expenditure.

“You can subscribe to what you need when you need it and focus your capabilities on your true business,” he said.

Copyright 2009 Reuters. Click for restrictions.

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