[Cross-posted from the Google Enterprise Blog]
Shortly after launching Google Apps for business customers in 2007, we began to hear that IT solution providers were recommending Google Apps to their customers as a new option for messaging and collaboration tools. At the time, we didn’t have formal support for solution providers, and their only incentive was to act in the best interests of their customers.
During those early days of Google Apps, we spent valuable time gathering feedback from these leading-edge solution providers and learning how best to create an official reseller program for Google Apps that worked for solution providers’ business models. As a result, when we launched the Google Apps Authorized Reseller program in early 2009, we focused the program on providing resellers the best of both worlds - an innovative web-based messaging and collaboration suite for their customers and a reseller program that allowed them to retain and enhance their customer relationships.
An Apps ecosystem milestone
Over the past 8 months we’ve doubled the number of resellers in our Google Apps Authorized Reseller program, and now have over 2,000 authorized resellers worldwide. And our unique qualification process continues to ensure that new resellers understand both the business value and technical aspects of the offering.
During the past year we’ve highlighted a number of customer success stories where resellers such as Dito, LTech, Sheepdog, and Cloud Sherpas led complex customer deployments. These resellers, and many others, have put together growing businesses by focusing primarily on Google Apps and other cloud-based applications.
But that’s not all. We’ve also gained awareness and adoption within mainstream IT channel communities. This includes value added resellers, managed service providers, web developers, web hosting companies, Internet service providers, and system integrators, all of whom have established businesses with existing client bases and have expanded their business by offering Google Apps.
Like the early adopters in 2007, these solution providers are foremost focused on doing the right thing for their customers. But they’re also taking advantage of the primary design point of our reseller program - allowing the reseller to manage the billing and support relationship and be the primary point of contact with the customer. We’ve recognized from the start of our program that providing resellers with control over billing and pricing, and allowing them into the primary flow of account provisioning, support, and messaging, is critical for them to effectively support their customers and make money.
We’ve seen strong adoption among managed service providers (MSPs) who tend to have fostered long-term, trusted customer relationships, understand recurring revenue models, focus on service offerings, and have fixed fee service contracts which are a great fit for reliable and predictable products like Google Apps.
Agosto is an example of an early MSP that has seamlessly rolled Google Apps into their full IT support helpdesk offering. They’ve been able to cross-sell their offerings in both directions, including converting customers of their Google Apps implementation service into full IT service clients. Even more powerfully, they’ve been able to enhance their long running client relationships by re-engaging them with relevant new opportunities to use collaboration capabilities in Google Sites, Video, and forms in Google Docs.
We’ve also seen adoption among web development, design, and hosting companies, for whom providing an email service is often a necessary part of helping small businesses with their online presence. Companies like Vision Multimedia Technologies are able to remain focused on their primary business of web development by using Google Apps to reliably handle the customers’ email, while also introducing the benefits of the rest of the Google Apps suite. And they’ve been able to offer consulting and web development services such as implementing portal and workflow solutions based on Google Sites to streamline content management for clients. All while providing the customer a simplified, single bill to pay.
Whether they’ve incorporated Google Apps into their existing business or they’ve built new businesses around it, a common denominator among our successful resellers is that they view bringing Google technology into their customer relationships as a way to strengthen and increase the strategic nature of these relationships.
While we are excited to have more than 2,000 resellers in our program, we anticipate further enhancing the program, the Google Apps suite, and the Google Apps Marketplace, to help our resellers grow their business with both new and existing customers.
If you’re an IT solution provider, learn more and get started with our reseller program today. Or if your company is using Google Apps and you have a preferred solution provider that you’d like to see get additional training on Google Apps, send them this post and we’d be happy to work with them.