CRN Exclusive: These Are The Changes Coming To Google's Partner Program

Google will soon reveal several upgrades to its relatively young and evolving channel program, just as its public cloud appears to be picking up steam in the enterprise arena.

New program elements to be introduced later in the week at Google's Next conference will help partners drive business, and reward them for their success, Adam Massey, director of the global cloud ecosystem and partnerships at the Alphabet subsidiary, told CRN.

At Next, which kicks off in San Francisco this Wednesday, Google will present to its partner ecosystem new credits, rebates, and sales and marketing incentives aimed at helping them scale their Google Cloud Platform practices in 2016.

[Related: Cloud Makes For Strange Bedfellows: Apple Signs On With Google, Cuts Spending With AWS]

Sponsored post

The program additions were mapped to take advantage of the complete customer acquisition life cycle, Massey told CRN.

"There's a number of ways for partners to enrich their investment in going to market with us, and to reward their success," he said. "For us, this is a really big deal."

Google launched a formal partner program for its enterprise business near the start of last year. "The goal was to simplify how partners deal with Google," Massey said.

At the time, Google noticed many partners were investing across the portfolio, from Infrastructure-as-a-Service with Compute Engine, to Maps, Search, Gmail and the full Apps Software-as-a-Service portfolio. The unified program brought all that together, he said.

In August, Google made it possible for partners to become true resellers rather than agents, allowing them to do the billing and hold the sales "paper."

The latest changes are expanding opportunities beyond resellers, to partners of every stripe selling cloud-focused products.

"A lot of partners are going through a transition now, trying to figure out how to build profitable practices," Massey said.

Reselling isn't what it used to be, he pointed out, with Moore's Law driving down prices, and with them, margins. Partners succeed by leveraging opportunities to add value and industry expertise.

The new incentives include a sandbox credit for internal testing, a URL partners can use to track prospects, credits for prospects, funding for co-marketing activities, and rebates for technology partners.

The program will also incorporate a marketing studio to help with lead generation, providing partners a source of material for campaigns incorporating their brand and solutions.

Mountain View, Calif.-based Google will also introduce some training qualifications for new roles: Solution Developer, Solution Architect, Systems Operations Professional and Data Scientist.

And to make the training requirements more flexible, partners will have the option of fulfilling Premier training with any combination of five qualifications.

"Partners are at the center of our go-to-market strategy and we really want to make sure they're at the forefront with our customers," Massey said.

SADA Systems, a Premier partner based in Los Angeles, consulted with Google on the program changes before their official launch.

"They expect partners, their Premier partners at least, to really drive business, not just be on the receiving end of opportunities from the Google field," SADA CEO Tony Safoian told CRN. "They expect us to drive business for which we will be rewarded."

The sandbox is a great addition that SADA will take advantage of, he said.

But it's the new Partner Credit URL, which directs to revenue opportunities and tracking tools, that stands out. Google allowed partners to do billing months ago, but that feature allows them to automate the process online, Safoian said.

"That's the great sales play that's going to help us scale," Safoian told CRN. "Before it was a very manual process."

The program enhancements will also help partners like SADA market at scale, conducting trials and tracking their results.

"I think they really nailed it with the elements that we need to drive the market and execute for them," Safoian said.