Can you afford to ignore seven million college students who will ultimately enter the workforce? That's the question facing MSPs who overlook the fact that more than 7 million college students now leverage Google Apps. Another key question: Can MSPs learn anything from the Google Apps sales pitch? A new Google Apps Education Edition CIO Road Trip may provide some answers.
I realize most managed services providers are still formulating SaaS strategies related to Google Apps, Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS) and other potential partner engagements. Plus, I suspect a large number of those 7 million students are simply using Google Gmail rather than Google's entire SaaS suite.
Still, there's no ignoring Google. One way to learn about the strategies is to listen to the sales pitch. A key example: Google says...
Beginning in April , the Google Apps Education team will travel to universities across the southern and eastern U.S. to meet with regional CIOs and IT directors in higher education. We'll be hosting these events with some great universities using Google Apps, including Hofstra, Columbus State University, the University of South Florida, Texas Southern University and the University of Virginia.Google's CIO roadtrip comes at an intriguing time. The search giant recently launched a Developer Certification Program. And there are signs that the Google Apps reseller program has gained momentum (more on that later today).
Still, some MSPs worry about (A) low revenue opportunities and (B) Google's own direct sales efforts. After all, MSPs only make about $10 per user per year when they resell Google's SaaS offerings. Plus, Google itself is out on the road talking directly to customers -- most notably university and college CIOs and IT directors.
Nevertheless, there are opportunities here for MSPs. Google is quick to note that MSPs and VARs can write their own application extensions to Google Apps. Plus, savvy MSPs and VARs would be wise to listen in on how Google pitches Google Apps to universities and colleges.