Google Apps Gets Education Certification Partner Program

Google has launched a program to certify resellers on Google Apps Education Edition. In return, Google is offering their partners better marketing support, more training opportunities, and business visibility in the Google Apps marketplace, the search giant says. It’s all part of Google's continued push into the education space. Here’s the skinny.

Part of the announcement involves new customer deployments. Two examples: The states of Colorado and Iowa are now offering Google Apps to their public schools, a key set of wins in the education space after Microsoft BPOS claimed the University of Arizona. And for schools wanting a self-service approach to learning the ropes, Google is promoting the Google Apps Education Training Center, which they say is designed to walk the novice through their offering.

But for Google Apps resellers, the main event, so to speak, is the Google Apps for Education Certified Partner program. To qualify as a certified partner, you need to employ at least three people who have achieved “Qualified Trainer” status by passing the online examinations and demonstrating a history of providing training and support to large clients.

As I noted above, the reward for MSPs is enhanced visibility to schools looking to get connected to the cloud with Google Apps. But is it enough to give Google Apps the edge over Microsoft, especially in the crucial education space?

No doubt, some MSPs are choosing sides in the SaaS battle between Google and Microsoft. But other MSPs are heading to higher ground, vacating the small business SaaS market -- where commodity pricing has emerged -- and focusing more on mid-market opportunities.

Additional reporting by Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. And follow us via RSS, Facebook, Identi.ca; and Twitter. Plus, check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com.

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