Given the size and scope of Google’s activities solution providers in the channel have always had a sense of untapped potential about the company. With the growing acceptance of offerings such as Google Apps and Gmail in business environments, solution providers generally recognize that Google is enjoying a substantial amount of momentum in the market.
But despite Google's size, its activities in the channel are relatively modest. The Google channel organization in particular appears to be both understaffed. In addition, the channel programs that company has in place are thin compared to what channel stalwarts such as Microsoft or IBM have, and many solution providers are not especially clear on whether it’s going to be profitable for them to do business with Google.
Despite all those issues, Michael Cohn, CEO of Cloud Sherpas, which specializes in integration projects involving Google products and technologies, says there is a lot of good money to be made by working with Google. In fact, Google just gave Cloud Sherpa its Google Enterprise 2011 Partner of the Year award. The real issue, says Cohn, is that solution providers have to put the time and effort in to work with Google products and technologies before anybody at Google is really going to pay attention to them. In addition, the business operations of the solution provider need to be managed in the cloud if they really want to be taken seriously as potential partner. After all, a solution provider shouldn’t be preaching what it doesn’t practice.
Cohn adds that once a solution provider gets a series of repeatable practices in place, projects involving Google get more profitable as the number of projects scale. The challenge is gaining the expertise needed to achieve a profitable level of scale.
A lot of solution providers might take issue with those requirements. But the fact remains that Google is increasing the size of its business footprint with each passing month. It’s almost inevitable that solution providers in the month and years ahead are going to find themselves working with one Google product or technology. In one way or another, solution providers should start putting in the mechanisms in place today to rise to that challenge because it’s only a matter of time before customers start asking more about whether they have that capability or not.Tags: Google, Cloud Sherpas, Google Apps, Gmail, solution providers, channel