Homepage Rankings and Research Companies Channelcast Marketing Matters CRNtv Events WOTC Cisco Partner Summit Digital 2020 Lenovo Tech World Newsroom HPE Zone Masergy Zenith Partner Program Newsroom Dell Technologies Newsroom Fortinet Secure Network Hub Hitachi Vantara Digital Newsroom IBM Newsroom Juniper Newsroom The IoT Integrator Lenovo Channel-First NetApp Data Fabric Intel Tech Provider Zone

Google Listens And Learns With Google Apps Reseller Program

Google is counting on MSPs to help Google Apps take some market share against Microsoft's portfolio of SaaS applications.


For example, Google now wants VARs to try a real selling opportunity for Google Apps Premier Edition -- its SaaS office productivity suite platform that includes e-mail and chat, word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, security and compliance features -- before fully committing to the partner program. That way, Ragusa said, VARs that don't feel like it's a good fit can self-select out. Its 400 partners have been a controlled growth, Ragusa said.

"There are certain folks for who this works well. For a segment it won't work well. It comes down to what degree do you have the end customers' business interests truly in mind," Ragusa said. "To the degree we're able to bring that to light up front helps the relationship. It helps the customer and it helps the partner know what they get into with Google Apps. It allows us to focus on that right subset of partners."

Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, a North Hollywood, Calif.-based solution provider, has been a Google Apps reseller for almost three years, long before the formalized program, and he's seen improvements this year from Google.

"They've done a tremendous job of not only continuing to streamline the actual mechanics of how it works, but in communicating the value proposition for resellers. They understand more the managed services model. The introduction of Google Apps into our services offering is not going to cannibalize what we do but enhance our business," said Safoian. "It's fair to say we've learned a lot from one another. They have always been receptive to feedback. They never pretended to know all the answers."

Safoian said Google Apps' visibility in the market has increased to the point where he no longer has to educate customers about the platform.

"Now I spent more time educating them on how it can enhance the way they work and collaborate and what it takes to migrate it into their existing environment," he said. "The concept of the cloud is still somewhat misunderstood, but the financial pressures of this economy make people receptive to new ideas."

Google is counting on MSPs to help Google Apps take some market share against Microsoft's portfolio of SaaS applications. The program offers VARs a 20 percent discount and the ability to receive recurring revenue on a product that Google has primarily sold directly to customers in the past.

Potential partners are advised to learn everything they can, from sales objections to the technology, and run through a full sale, Ragusa said.

"It helps both sides. A lot of partners get their feet wet and decide they don't want to do this right now. Lots of folks get into it and it works really well for them and they want to invest more of their business into it," he said.

In that regard, Google thinks that MSPs, which tend to be more entrenched with customers than product-focused resellers, might be the best fit. This week, Google Apps became a sponsor of MSP Partners in order to further the education of MSPs building toward the trusted adviser model.

"There is great synergy between the MSP community and Google. We're both looking to build long-term loyal relationships and do right by the end user. We do that by product development with the end user's focus in mind. With MSPs, they build relationships with the needs of the businesses in mind," Ragusa said.

Google wants more MSPs to bundle Google Apps into their existing bundled services offerings, such as server monitoring and PC patch support, Ragusa said. Ragusa feels Google Apps can help MSPs in three ways: First, it can reduce an end user's costs by pushing a horizontal application like e-mail up to the cloud. "That allows the MSP to focus on services up the value chain," Ragusa said.

"The second thing is you can more easily acquire more clients. [Managed services] is a high customer acquisition cost. We help attack that problem directly," he said. "Third, there is visibility with the customer. You can prove you are providing value beyond just keeping the lights on."

Google Apps has made more than 100 enhancements to the SaaS suite in the past year, Ragusa said. "It gives the MSP new applications, new things to talk about when they're meeting regularly with a business owner," he said. "By Google constantly innovating, the MSP gets to leverage that and be a conduit to the customer."

Back to Top



trending stories

sponsored resources