The Google Apps business is growing, and according to Google Apps partner BetterCloud, much of that growth is because of channel partners. They're playing an integral role in its success.
A BetterCloud survey about Google Apps adoption shows that the cloud services are gaining a lot of followers and customers, but what's driving that adoption are the channel partners touting it to customers.
As BetterCloud noted in its blog post unveiling the results, Google (GOOG) has about 6,000 resellers dealing in Google Apps, and they vary from large multinational companies to small startups and outsourced IT shops. Exclusive Update, March 4, 2014, 1:30pm ET: Talkin' Cloud has learned Google Apps now has 10,000 or more resellers.
"Google Apps resellers not only play an integral role in the success of Google Apps, but in the success of the entire ecosystem. They help ISVs bring their product offerings to market, train their customers on Google Apps and oftentimes serve as a liaison between the customer, ISVs and even Google," wrote David Politis, founder and CEO of BetterCloud.
BetterCloud uncovered several reasons customers are first choosing to work with a Google Apps reseller; and 56.4 percent noted they wanted to work with a trusted third party with experience migrating companies to Google Apps. That was by far the most common answer. Other answers included being attracted to reseller bundles for the same per-user price (14.1 percent), they needed help with training and change management (10.8 percent), they didn't have time to conduct the migration themselves (8.2 percent), they moved to a reseller after initially purchasing licenses directly from Google (7.5 percent), and the reseller was able to integrate some existing systems with Google (3 percent).
All the reasons show the value partners are providing in the growth of not just Google Apps, but cloud services in general.
"There are a variety of services customers use resellers for—most often the reseller becomes the first line of support for Google Apps and anything related," Politis wrote. "We also noticed in the written feedback portion of this question that many customers are looking for more third-party application recommendations from their resellers."
Satisfaction rates also tend to be on the high end, the BetterCloud survey found. And resellers who are more engaged with their customers have a higher overall satisfaction rate than those who minimize contact.
Politis suggested this is a core reason that Google Apps has been growing its customer base—and much of that growth has been in the last two years.