MSPs Embracing Google Apps

MSPs Embracing Google Apps

Anecdotal evidence suggests Google Apps is starting to catch on with managed service providers. A case in point: Roughly 16 percent of MSPs completing our third-annual MSPmentor 100 survey say they are offering Google Apps to their customers. How has Google built a following among MSPs? The answer is pretty simple.

First, a little background: Our MSPmentor 100 survey continues through December 11 and we'll publish complete results in Q1 2010. Since the survey is still open, the Google Apps response rate can certainly rise or fall. But so far, 16 percent of MSPs are promoting Google Apps to their customers.

At first glance 16 percent isn't all that big a number. But consider this: Google really didn't have a Google Apps Reseller channel program until early 2009.

Admittedly, many MSPs continue to dismiss Google because:

  • Google Apps is so inexpensive ($50 per user per year) there isn't much room for VARs and MSPs to make money. The typical engagement allows partners to make $10 per user per year. Translation: A 20-person small business deployment yields a scant $200 to the channel partner -- annually.
  • Some MSPs worry they'll lose control of their customers if suddenly desktop productivity applications are shifted into Google's cloud.

Hitting the Road

Still, a growing minority of MSPs are kicking Google Apps' tires. One reason: Google attended a range of managed services events and channel conferences in 2009, including Autotask Community Live, ConnectWise Partner Summit and CompTIA Breakaway.

During those conferences, Google channel managers like Jeff Ragusa outlined how VARs and MSPs can use Google Apps to spark larger managed services conversations with customers. Also of note: ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini recently visited Google to discuss the cloud computing and managed services markets.

The key takeaway: I'm not suggesting the MSP masses will embrace Google Apps. But a growing number of folks are taking the plunge. And I think we've all learned not to underestimate the search giant.

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