Google's Action Bodes Well for the Channel
One of the interesting facts lost in the debate following Google's recent decision to launch a reseller program for its Apps Premier collaboration and communication suite is that the action validates the notion that you can build profits through partnerships and collaboration.
At a time when hardware and software vendors are singing the economic blues (even Google itself just announced a layoff), executives at the company are strategic enough to realize that if you want to successfully roll out a product to a worldwide business audience, you are going to need partners behind you. Let's face it: There's a lot to debate about Google's new effort. There's plenty of room for channel conflict since in selling Apps Premier, VARs could end up competing for customers not only with Google's direct-sales force, but with each other. Google executives have been purposely vague about this, except to insist that their own sales people are "encouraged" to work with resellers. And Google created bad blood with some VARs in the aftermath of its Postini acquisition a couple of years ago.
Still and all, Google deserves kudos for stepping up and embracing the channel at a time of economic uncertainty. I believe this new program is going to really boost the uptake on SaaS and cloud computing among business users of all sizes. It is certainly going to serve as a platform for a lot of channel partners to learn the fine points of cloud computing. This is a good thing. It is positioning the channel to increase its expertise in future business models and to help it let go of the past. This is a great time for business re-invention, so I'm ecstatic about Google embracing the channel and I hope the feeling is mutual.