Google Apps Gains Momentum With Channel Partners
Google Apps seems to be catching on with more and more managed services providers (MSPs). In fact, 29 of the world’s top 100 MSPs now promote Google Apps to their end-customers, according to the fourth-annual MSPmentor 100 survey and research report. Complete MSPmentor 100 results will be unveiled February 16. But in the meantime, Google’s growing momentum in the channel is worth a closer look.
Admittedly, some VARs and MSPs fear Google Apps and other cloud-centric software platforms. But there’s no ignoring cloud conversations with customers, and a growing number of small business owners are marching toward cloud solutions. And in some cases, that involves walking hand-in-hand with Google Apps. In a December 2010 FastChat Video (left), Director of Google Apps Channels Stephen Cho described how the company is working more closely with channel partners.
Meanwhile, Google channel partners are starting to participate in our Talkin’ Cloud 50 survey, which will identify the top VARs and MSPs working in the cloud. Two prime examples: Excel Micro Inc., a major Google security partner, says top-line recurring revenues grew an impressive 33 percent in 2010 vs. 2009. And SADA Systems Inc., a Google Apps partner, saw its total sales more than triple in 2010.
Still, VARs and MSPs face plenty of challenges as they contemplate Google Apps and cloud strategies. Generally speaking, partners only earn $10 per user per year when they resell Google Apps — not exactly a lucrative business model for channel partners. But a growing number of partners have embraced scripting solutions to piece together custom Google Apps offerings. Moreover, Google allows partners to manage cloud billing for end-customers — a crucial step that Microsoft has yet to take.
TalkinCloud expects Google to make more channel partner moves during the Google I/O Conference (May 10-11, San Francisco).
Also: We’re still analyzing how many top MSPs leverage Microsoft’s cloud services — such as Business Productivity Online Suite, Exchange Online and SharePoint Online. But we’re double-checking some of the stats since a large number of MSPs leverage third-party hosted Exchange services rather than Microsoft’s own cloud.