Google Apps: Saving Schools Big Money?

Google Apps: Saving Schools Big Money?

google apps education editionYes, you likely know the City of Los Angeles is making a big move to Google Apps. But week after week, Google also seems to be promoting school district wins, too. For MSPs serving the education vertical, studying up on Google Apps is now a requirement. Here's why.

According to our third-annual MSPmentor 100 survey (complete results coming Feb. 10), roughly 22% of survey participants target either the K-12 or higher education (colleges and universities) verticals. At the same time, 21.7% of survey participants are promoting Google Apps to their customers.

We need to be careful not to hype Google Apps: Microsoft and plenty of other software providers continue to enjoy strong market share in the education sector.

Still, Google's momentum within schools seems real. One recent example involves a Michigan school district that claims to have saved an estimated $400,000 by switching an on-premises e-mail solution over to Google Apps Education Edition. The Saline, Michigan, school district may only claim 600 employees, but I think it's a perfect demonstration to MSPs on the power and potential of software as a service (SaaS) solutions.

The school district's superintendent seems to be praising Google Apps because the district:

  • Can stop paying licensing fees on the old solution;
  • spam is way down;
  • they don't need to worry about keeping updates patched since Google handles all that on their end; and
  • they're even using Google Video for daily announcements and Google Docs to make forms and rolling meeting agendas.
Still, this blog entry isn't meant to sound like pro-Google propaganda. Plenty of school districts will prefer on-premise options. And just to make things extra interesting, Microsoft is preparing Office Web, a SaaS version of Office 2010.

Back in Google land, MSPs only make about $10 per user per year reselling Google Apps. For a typical 20-seat small business deployment, that's only $200 annually moving into the MSP's bank account. But Google's Jeff Ragusa points out bigger channel opportunities tied to Google Apps.
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