CRN caught up with Google to find out what is driving Google's channel strategy and whether it plans to grow its partner base in Australia following the internet giant's appointment of cloud consulting firm PRM as an authorised reseller earlier this month.
In an exclusive interview with Google's Asia Pacific Enterprise boss Doug Farber (pictured) and Google's Asia Pacific head of Apps Product Management Anil Sabharwal, CRN discovered that much like traditional IT companies, Google's growth plans involve its channel.
The Google Apps suite of products - which includes Gmail , Google Talk , Google Calendar , Google Docs, Google Sites, and Google Video - is driving most of Google's channel strategy, but it's not limited to it.
CRN: What's your message to partners?
Doug Farber: We are open for business.
DF: We've been extending the [Google] team and we've been growing very, very rapidly. The reception worldwide, in the Asia Pacific and especially in Australia has been very enthusiastic.
What we're finding is that we've got so much market opportunity that we need help in distribution [from] folks that are built from the ground up that take advantage of cloud computing and the web.
They tend not to be conventional resellers, they tend to be people that have experience with web-based technologies - cloud based technologies that can understand and add-value to what we're doing.
CRN: What type of businesses do you want to partner with?
DF: The nimble, more dynamic tech partners that are much more flexible. [Those] that are ready to just adopt new technologies and platforms. They love the Google name and that association, they think it's a powerful pull and they're excited with the technology.
What we find is this symbiotic relationship. The partners seem to gravitate towards us and we also tend to find these guys in some of our activities - they are in the broader cloud computing space.
The fact is, here in Australia we're lucky to have people like Anil Sabharwal, we have Lars Rasmussen - Engineering Manager (the Wave guy). This is really the main circuit table of the Google development machine and getting access to that is pretty incredible.
CRN: How can resellers benefit from partnering with Google?
DF: There are a whole array of revenue streams for resellers to talk to us. We run a whole laundry list of partner relationships. We've got resellers that provide 24/7 first-line support.
There are the system integrators, the guys who want to build their business around the Google Apps ecosystem and be able to do a Gmail implementation with Docs and build sites out and have the hooks in their CRM systems.
We're talking to large telecommunications providers around the globe and here about doing reseller bundling with traditional telecommunications providers who want to move up the stack and give more value-add to our customers.
CRN: What other products provide opportunities for partners?
DF: We talk about Apps quite a lot, but Google also has a couple of other product sets in the enterprise team that provide revenue streams and for partners to leverage off.
We sell a product called the Google Search appliance, bringing the power of Google inside the firewall. Many organisations have internal content management systems (CRM) and they should just as easily be able to run a search and dive into their CRM and pull out that information based on the Google algorithms internally. So we have that and we have partners who help us pull that in.
We also have Google Maps products and Google Earth products.
CRN: How do you help drive business to resellers?
Anil Sabharwal: We often drive leads to our partners through marketing events - to be able to get them additional marketing exposure beyond just the Apps Marketplace. And of course we provide them with [a] series of tools that support them, such that when they get online with a customer they have the ability to quickly be able to provision that customer and get them up and running.
We provide them with training and other capabilities to smooth that transition from starting with a customer to deploying to becoming experts in the space.
Stay tuned for Part II of this interview. How do partners take advantage of Google's newly launched Apps Marketplace?