Google Apps needs more Canadian cloud computing resellers

After celebrating its first-year anniversary of its Google Apps Reseller Program, Stephen Cho, the director of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Apps channels, says the company is now looking to further grow its reseller base by depth and breadth.

The program, which was announced at the beginning of last year, started out with 50 pilot partners around the globe. Today, the program has more than 1,000 reseller partners in 50 countries, Cho said.

While Cho couldn’t comment on how many Canadian reseller partners are currently in the program, he admitted that the company “(doesn’t) have as many partners in Canada as the company needs.”

“We’ve done more active work in the U.S. over the course of our first year than we have in Canada,” Cho said. “We’re looking to grow our reseller community and expand the depth and breadth of our partners. We want to address more of the market and vertical industries and in order to scale and reach all of these potential customers, we need our partners.”

Cho said that Google sees the Canadian market as being “underserved” when it comes to partner coverage, and so the company is looking to add on a “significant” amount of new partners this year.

“We’re looking for partners in metropolitan areas, partners who address specific sizes of customers, partners who focus on specific vertical industries and are looking for those (partners) who are the most hungry to work with us, wherever they may come from,” Cho said.

Some of the other key traits that the company is looking for in a partner include having a strength in services, a serious commitment to cloud-based or SaaS applications, and a partner who’s committed to the client’s success, Cho said.

The Google Apps Reseller program is designed for partners who sell the Google Apps Premier Edition suite of solutions, which targets the business environment. The Google Apps Premier Edition portfolio consists of a set of communication and collaboration tools such as, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, Google Talk and more.

Since Google Apps Premier Edition is hosted by Google, there’s no need to purchase additional hardware or software. This makes it easy for businesses to move their solutions to the cloud. But Cho said for many partners, the cloud computing space is something that’s new to them.

“Selling a cloud-based product is a new product-set for many folks in the channel and in order to be successful in a new area, partners need to build up a cloud practice because this isn’t a side experiment,” he explained.

Partners who are part of the Google Apps Reseller Program also have access to Google’s Reseller Console, which Cho explains an online tool that helps with automated ordering, provisioning and management for resellers’ end-user clients.

All resellers in the program have access to the online console and partners can create a client domain and can order seats and provision users and configure Google Apps services. Partners also have the ability to manage and monitor the client’s services on an ongoing basis, as well as view billing information using the console. The reseller console is designed to give partners more visibility by helping them find where other consulting or services opportunities may lie with Google Apps and their customers.

Cho says resellers will receive a 20 per cent discount off the list price of Google Apps Premier Edition, which sells for $50. Partners also have the flexibility of adding on additional services or options to their customers to create higher revenue streams too, Cho added.

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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