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Cloud Sherpas Guide
Cloud Sherpas is also climbing high on the cloud mountain. And as the top Google Apps partner, the Atlanta-based solution provider has earned that spot.
While only two-and-a-half years old, Cloud Sherpas focuses solely on Google Apps, the search giant's cloud application offerings. But it is by no means a one-trick pony.
"What it means to 'go Google' is becoming a much more sophisticated business," Cloud Sherpas CEO Jon Hallett said of Cloud Sherpas' drive to deliver Google Apps to medium and large enterprises.
Cloud Sherpas' business model supports three key lines of revenue: pure resale and packaging of Google Apps; building and selling its own SaaS offering; and professional services.
"A lot of our competitors are pushing product and we don't want to be in the commodity space," Hallett said. He added that he's noticed some "resistance of the traditional VAR to move into a cloud reseller model because they have to cannibalize their own bread and butter."
Hallett said Cloud Sherpas' avoidance of the commodity space has resulted in an average customer size of 2,008 seats and zero percent churn.
And Cloud Sherpas takes a unique approach to the space in that it built out its own software in its SherpaTools, a free application available in the Google Apps Marketplace that offers IT management functions for administrators and adds new features to Google Apps, such as directory management, user management and access control.
"It was really born out of direct customer needs," Hallett said of SherpaTools.
Cloud Sherpas currently sits on the threshold of 1 million user accounts, growth that shows it got into the Google game at the right time, before there was too much competition. Now, however, Hallett said some solution providers are coming around and in a year or two more rivals could emerge. Still, Hallett is confident that Cloud Sherpas has built up a solid reputation and enough differentiation to stay ahead of the pack and continue its reign as a Google Apps colossus.
"Last year it was just the pioneers looking into it," Hallett said. "In 2011, a lot of people are going to be pulling their heads out of the sand and saying, 'Where did this come from?'"