Why the expanding Google partner ecosystem matters

More than 10,000 resellers are allied with the massive cloud services company. Now, as businesses adopt more Google Apps add-ons, it is beefing up support for ISVs and technology platform partners.

It may sound small compared with the number of VARs, resellers and integrators that integrate or develop on top of Microsoft technologies, but Google now has more than 10,000 partners in its existing Reseller Program. What's more, it is adding more support for independent software vendors (ISVs) and technology partners , to entice more participation from that community. 

The reason is pretty obvious: Since it opened up the Google Apps Marketplace about four years ago, the company figures that there have been more than 200 million installations of the roughly 750 offerings that are there -- everything from tools for digital signatures to accounting tools to project management applications.

Now it's seeking to accelerate that momentum. "The new track is designed to recognize technology partners for their successes and offer them technical, marketing and sales support to help bring the products they build to more people," the company writes in its official partner blog. 

A recent survey by Frost & Sullivan, and the Cloud Alliance for Google Apps—the 2014 State of the Google Apps Ecosystem—underscores why this is a smart move. The fact is, the availability of third-party applications that integrate closely with core Google business offerings is a driver of corporate adoption, according to the data.

About one-third of the 1,158 Google Apps administrators and users surveyed for the report said that the existence of certain related apps within the Google Marketplace helped encourage their adoption. And almost half (49 percent) reported that those applications helped convince them to move to the cloud. 

Commenting on these findings, David Politis, chairman of the Cloud Alliance and CEO of one of its founding members, BetterCloud, said:

The concept of the marketplace is relatively new, but complementary third-party applications are not. Third-party applications have long supported many of the largest, most successful software platforms and Google Apps is proving no different. By enhancing accessibility and ease of installation, the Google Apps Marketplace and Chrome Web Store are not only increasing reliance on third-party products among Google Apps users, they are enabling the IT department to place Google Apps at the core of IT. 

According to the report, IT administrators install an average of 10 Marketplace applications, but just 26 percent of them use them regularly after they are installed. The main thing that would improve satisfaction is better integration between third-party products and Google Apps, which points back to Google's expanding commitment to provide better support to that community.