This week competition between Google Apps and Microsoft BPOS heads to court, SharePoint gets new document management templates from HotDocs, while Gartner says the document outsourcing market is on the rebound.

Google, Gov in Court Over BPOS

Google and Microsoft continue to battle it out to see who is going to be the top dog in the hosted application space. According to a report in theSan Francisco Chronicle, the two have ended up in court over the Government’s decision to adopt Microsoft’s BPOS at the Dept of Interior without letting Google bid for some of the action.

So, Google is heading to court while Microsoft (news, site) watches from the sidelines. According to the complaint filed by Google and its reseller partner Onix Networking, Google was shut out of the bidding process despite "numerous attempts" to enter the competition. Instead, the government specified that only Microsoft's BPOS-Federal service would be considered.

While there is only 88,000 employees involved -- not a lot in the global scheme of things -- exclusion could be a real problem for Google. After all, if it happened there, why not in other departments?

There is also the issue of BPOS and its rebranding as Office365. If Office365 digs into the public sector it is going to be very difficult to get it out given the kind of functionality it will be offering.

Last February, Microsoft announced plans to create a special version of the BPOS for federal government agencies that would meet required security standards. Microsoft was to run the Federal version of these BPOS services only out of data centers based in the United States.

Google has pointed out in the complaint that  Microsoft's BPOS-Federal solution hasn't  been certified to meet all of those security standards yet, while Google Apps for Government has. The outcome of this is going to be interesting, so watch and wait.

Document Outsourcing Rebounds

According to Gartner (newssite), document outsourcing is going to turn into big money next year. Gartner's Research indicates that the recession appears to be over, in this space at least.

Gartner’s analysis of the document outsourcing market indicated that the North American strategic document outsourcing (SDO) market is projected to total US$ 17.1 billion in 2010, a 1.7 percent increase from US$ 16.8 billion in 2009. Next year, it is expected to reach US$ 17.6 billion while climbing to US$20.1 billion by 2014.

SDO is the subset of business process outsourcing focused on the publication of customer communications. It includes content creation, multimedia presentation and incoming document processing.

Gartner indicates that behind the growth is a shift by enterprises and government agency clients to engage SDO providers as a means to cut costs. The most successful SDO companies will be those that can offer completely automated document workflow.

SharePoint Gets Templates Web Part

In the world of SharePoint, a new web part has been released thanks to HotDocs, a company that provides document automation and assembly technology. The new program, HotDocs Workspace for SharePoint 2007 or 2010, enables the assembly of HotDocs templates within a Microsoft SharePoint site. 

The templates are built in a word processor using HotDocs Developer 10, a document automation tool. Templates can then be published to the desktop or web.

To assemble custom documents on the web, users need both the HotDocs Server 10 and a web application, used to organize and access HotDocs templates and answer files. HotDocs Workspace for SharePoint is exactly that and enables document production and management within SharePoint sites.

Learning Opportunities

With HotDocs Workspace for SharePoint, users select from a list of templates to launch a question-and-answer interview. The server then uses the completed answers to generate a finished document, which can be saved to SharePoint or downloaded as a word processor file or PDF. Interested in more?

Metalogix Manages SharePoint File Content

Meanwhile, Metalogix (news, site) has announced the general availability of StoragePoint File Share Librarian. Librarian enables companies to move the control of file share content to SharePoint 2010, where security, document management and retention policies are enforced and cost-effective tiered storage solutions can be used.

With Librarian, file shares are used like any other storage Endpoint. The file share content remains physically in place while only the metadata, folder hierarchy structures and other supporting information is cataloged, replicated and placed under the full control of SharePoint 2010.

Hosted Document Management from Mr Copy

Xerox (news, site)  has also been busy. Mr. Copy, a California-based Xerox company has just released a new hosted enterprise content management (ECM) solution that enables document management, collaboration, review and approval as well as web publishing to support information sharing across an enterprise.

Compliance for HIPAA, FERPA, Sarbanes-Oxley and 37 other state privacy laws are included in the package. In addition Packages start at US$ 39.95 per year for a minimum of five users with no long-term contract requirements.

UK Still Depends on Paper Records

Finally, research by documenet management software company Version One (newssite) revealed that most people are still reluctant to switch to electronic records. The company carried out their research with 86 senior IT professionals across a range of UK and Irish public and private sector organizations.

The results indicated that 86 percent of senior IT professionals are still reliant on paper records with over half -- 51 percent -- stating that they are very reliant. Just 1 percent of respondents stated that they “hardly ever” have to rely on paper records while the remaining 13 percent admitted they are “occasionally reliant." 

Of these respondents however, 48 percent admitted that they would be persuaded to move away from paper records if they were assured document security, customer service benefits, legislative admissibility and environmental benefits.