May 16, 2011

By samdizzy

How can Google Apps Authorized Resellers build closer business relationships with potential cloud customers? Perhaps the Google Appsperience program can assist. The effort, described by Google SMB Channel Lead Jeff Ragusa in a TalkinCloud FastChat Video, helps customers to test selected Google Apps for free over a 90-day period… with hand-holding from channel partners.

Ragusa explained the Appsperience initiative after a busy week at Google I/0 2011, a major conference that attracted 5,000 developers, customers and even some VARs and MSPs (more on that later). The event’s big news involved Google Chromebooks for Business, which combined notebook hardware with Google’s cloud into a service that costs $28 per month for business or $20 per month for education customers.

Immediate Opportunities

But if you listened closely enough, it seems like Appsperience and Google Apps Script provide more immediate opportunities for channel partners. According to Google’s Website, the Appsperience 90-day trial includes all Google Apps for Business applications except for Gmail. Also, according to Google’s Web site:

  • Only customers of 50 or more employees are currently eligible

  • Reseller charges customer for deployment services and training on collaboration tools

  • Although a customer can come to Google for this offer, a reseller must be involved in executing the trial

  • After 90 days, customer must purchase full licenses of Google Apps for Business or cancel

  • If customer purchases Google Apps for Business, reseller gets usual 20% discount from license fees

  • This program should be used when a customer is not an immediate fit for a full Google Apps for Business purchase

Google Apps Script

Meanwhile, a few MSPs attending Google I/O told me they are leveraging Google Apps Script to weave together multiple SaaS applications. Ragusa has been careful to balance his statements about Apps Script. On the one hand, he doesn’t want VARs to think they have to become application development experts to succeed in the cloud. But on the other hand, he’s quick to say basic Apps Script skills give  VARs a way to differentiate in the cloud. I’ll share more Apps Script views later this week.

Longer term, Talkin’ Cloud will be watching to see if the Microsoft Office 365 team counters Google Appsperience and Apps Script. We suspect Office 365 will debut July 1 or sooner. Watch for a major Office 365 push at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), scheduled for July 10-14 in Los Angeles.

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