As Google Apps has wormed its way into the enterprise, it's been left up to IT managers to figure out how to manage a set of applications designed to be used primarily by individual consumers.
To help with this problem, Cloud Sherpas has come up with a set of tools, available as a service, that help automate many of the management tasks associated with maintaining Google applications. For example, next month Cloud Sherpas will roll out a SherpaTools service that the company developed as part of its consulting services for Google applications.
SherpaTools, for example, can be used to allow users of mobile devices to log into their Google Apps account to access the corporate directory, rather than having to write custom code to link Google Apps to a corporate LDAP server. SherpaTools also can be used to extend instant messaging services such as GoogleTalk by integrating them with the corporate directory as well. SherpaTools allows administrators to create settings for large groups of users, rather than having to set up account features for each one individually.
According to Cloud Sherpas CEO Michael Cohn, as adoption of Google Apps proliferates, IT administrators will want access to a variety of management tools similarly delivered as a service. To provide that kind of capability, however, a vendor has to have some hard-won experience deploying Google Apps in a corporate setting.
Overall, there's a small cottage industry emerging around Google Apps. For example, Ltech offers a single sign-on tool for linking Google Apps to LDAP directories. As time goes on, it's only a matter of time before established application management vendors start turning their attention to Google Apps as well.