Google Gmail Scores Big Customer Win

Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, a global financial services company with headquarters in Spain, said yesterday it will roll out Google’s enterprise email system for its 110,000 workforce.

“This is an interesting and important deal for Google…It isn’t about marketing; it is about enterprise scale software solutions and the cloud,” said Dela Quist, CEO of Alchemy Worx, an email marketing agency based in London, in an email interview. “From what I know, this is highly unlikely to be about their outbound marketing efforts, where they would most likely use an [email service provider] like Responsys, CheetahMail, Epsilon, ExactTarget, SilverPop, etc.”

While Google does not offer e-mail marketing services, it still raises the question whether the company has future plans to add it to its stack of advertising and marketing products, which include paid search, mobile advertising, and video advertising. But one thing is sure – the Gmail-BBVA deal is a direct assault on Microsoft’s corporate email and calendar software business.

Beginning with 35,000 BBVA workers in Spain, the company will also deploy other Google productivity tools such as Google Talk, Google Sites, Google Docs, and Google Video. The companies aim to roll out the tools to the entire workforce by the end of 2012.

“We were looking for a technology that would transform our business operations – not just make our workers more efficient,” BBVA CIO José Olalla wrote on Google’s Enterprise blog.

BBVA said it’s also developing a new intranet, internally known as its high performance desktop, built on Google’s collaboration tools. BBVA, in a statement, said the intranet will change from a corporate communications and process management site and instead serve as a place for employees to share, contribute, and manage information.

The deal, Quist said, demonstrates that Google is trying to break Microsoft’s stranglehold on corporate messaging and calendaring. “Which is why it is newsworthy that they have persuaded a major organization – a bank at that – to ditch if not Microsoft then IBM’s Lotus notes in favor of a cloud-based service.”

BBVA did not disclose the value of the deal.

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