The Google Apps channel partner program has a new, more flexible payment plan for cloud brokerages and resellers. It's one small step in Google's larger, global initiative to compete with Microsoft Office 365, and also transition Exchange Server customers to the cloud.
According to Google Spokeswoman the updated plan coveers the following:
- Resellers can now choose to pay up-front for a 12 month term of Google Apps, reducing their payment operations overhead and transactional costs by up to 90% over monthly payments.
- For any new deal, a partner has full flexibility to choose both commitment length (1 day, 1 month or 1 year) and payment frequency (monthly or yearly).
- For resellers who have customers not ready to commit to a longer-term contract, there's always the option to go month-by-month and pay monthly to Google.
The spokeswoman added:
"This new payment option allows resellers the ability to now select the payment plan that best fits the needs of their customers and reseller business. We realize customers are in different stages of readiness for cloud application adoption, and so they have varied demands on partners as to their level of commitment and how they want to pay. We're providing these payment options to provide the flexibility partners need to handle this, and to help them optimize their cloud services offering."
Google's Early Lead, Recent Silence
Plenty of channel partners remain wary of Google -- fearing the search giant wants to sell direct or crush channel margins. But if you take a close look at the Google Apps partner program, you'll notice that the company was among the first to empower channel partners with billing and pricing management tools that rivals like Microsoft initially overlooked.
The Google Apps partner program has more than 6,000 reseller members. Also, 30 percent of the world's Top 100 Cloud Services Providers resell or support Google Apps as of 2013, according to Talkin' Cloud. Key advocates include Cloud Sherpas and SADA Systems, among others.
Still, the Google Apps channel team has been somewhat quiet over the past year, after making numerous high-profile moves in 2011 and 2012. We'll be watching to see if Google raises its channel profile again in 2014.