Questions About Google's Channel Acumen

By Sharon Linsenbach  |  Print this article Print


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The search giant’s entry into the SaaS application channel could present Microsoft with one of the greatest challenges to its market dominance yet. But Google still must earn the channel’s trust and confidence.

But Beth Vanni, director of Market Intelligence at Amazon Consulting, is not so sure.

Healey also says he's not surprised Google has moved forward with and expanded its channel program, since solution providers are key to developing and maintaining business growth through enterprise partners.

"Google knows you can't penetrate the enterprise space without a channel program," Healey says.

 "With all due respect to Google, Google’s ability to compete with Microsoft on a maturity level with channel programs just isn’t even close – Google’s channel DNA and program maturity is quite different than what Microsoft has built," Vanni says.

Vanni adds that has a lot to prove to the market, including whether they can garner and maintain partner loyalty. Cho says Google is up to that challenge.

Google’s leveraging existing relationships with solution providers that are already successfully selling Google’s search appliance to get a foothold, and attempting to build a separate program around Google Apps from that foundation. However, Vanni says, these hardware integrators are an entirely different breed of solution providers than the ones needed to perform business application integration.


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Cho says that Google is drawing from a broad base of solution providers with different skill sets, but cites that as an advantage and proof of the broad-based appeal of Google’s Apps Suite.

"Our program is encompassing more than just the search appliance community or application providers. We have resellers coming from the GSA, there are Postini VARs, Salesforce.com resellers," he says.  "There’s an organic community that already exists who are delivering services around Google Apps, and we’re focused on bringing them all together," says Cho.

Cho says while there aren’t specific goals in place for recruiting a specific number of resellers in 2009, that Google has set 'very aggressive’ sales goals, and has about 600 Google team members working on the program globally in one capacity or another.

But with such low price points, will solution providers be able to generate decent margins on Google business?

Sharon Linsenbach Sharon Linsenbach is a staff writer for eWEEK and eWEEK Channel Insider. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, Sharon was Assistant Managing Editor for CRN, a weekly magazine for PC and technology resellers. Before joining CRN, Sharon was an Acquisitions Editor for The Coriolis Group and later, Editorial Director with Paraglyph Press, both in Scottsdale, AZ. She holds a BA in English from Drew University and lives in the Philadelphia suburbs with her significant other and two neurotic cats. When she's not reading or writing about technology, Sharon enjoys yoga, knitting, traveling and live music. Sharon can be reached at Sharon.Linsenbach@ziffdavisenterprise.com.

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