Key Google cloud partner eyes vertical solutions

Cloud Sherpas added several hundred new clients investing in cloud migrations during 2012, and projects more of the same for this year.

A few columns back, I reported that Cloud Sherpas had been named (again) as a top global integrator and migration partner for the Google Enterprise technology portfolio , including its cloud applications and infrastructure.

Now, the Atlanta-based company is positioning for growth of more than 70 percent during 2013 for its Google business unit, according to Douglas Shepard, who leads that division.

One key to that will be vertical industry solutions using Google Apps, Google Vault, Google Maps for Business, and App Engine. It hasn't said much about this yet, but the company already boasts deployments in Education, Government, Financial Services, Health care, Manufacturing, Professional Services, Publishing, Real Estate, Retail, Technology, Travel, and Hospitality.

In addition, Google Maps will be a particular focus during the next 12 months, Shepard said. Cloud Sherpas already is working with a number of clients on geospatial projects; by adding location metrics to a scheduling system, for example, a business can make better decisions about how to deploy personnel for a field engagement. Geospatial technology also holds appeal for real estate management companies, marketers, and retailers — or pretty much any company hoping to layer location-based information into customer intelligence or business analytics solutions.

You'll also see Cloud Sherpas continue to expand its team of application developers, which will support its clients moving to Google Enterprise products. You'll probably see its Ferris open-source application development framework at the center of this, given the platform's ability to speed up the time it takes to get cloud apps deployed quickly. Based on converstations that I've had in the past week with other cloud integrators and brokers, rapid application development is a theme you will hear repeated often in the next 12 to 18 months.

Headcount for the Google business unit will be increased by about 30 percent this year, according to the company.

Aside from being a two-time Google Enterprise Partner of the Year for Google Apps, Cloud Sherpas is a Platinum-level partner for, and it was the first ServiceNow partner to reach Preferred status globally. It has helped more than 5,000 businesses adopt, migrate or enhance their cloud computing investments. In December 2012, Cloud Sherpas raised $40 million in venture funding to help support its aggressive growth plans.

"We attribute our success in the Google ecosystem to a focus on quality and client satisfaction," Shepard said. "You can expect to see more of the same from our team in 2013."