Google Boosts Channel Incentives to Push Enterprise Products

The company plans to increase sales commissions for channel partners who push Google Apps for Work more aggressively, according to reports.

Google channel incentive

Google appears to be ramping up efforts to go after bigger corporate customers, a market that it has struggled to make an impression on, despite its dominance in other segments.

The Internet giant is planning on giving resellers incentives to more aggressively push its Google Apps for Work enterprise software and services by increasing their sales commissions, The Wall Street Journal reported Dec. 3.

Currently, Google allows retailers to keep 20 percent of the revenue they make from selling certain Google Apps packages. For instance, the company presently charges $50 per user per year for its Gmail, Docs and Drive cloud storage package of which the reseller gets to keep $10. Starting next year, Google will increase that commission for top-performing resellers, The Journal said, quoting unnamed sources that it said were familiar with the company's plans.

The partner channel is vital to any Google effort to expand it presence in the $16 billion market for enterprise email, word processing and other office productivity software, The Journal reported. Currently, Microsoft holds 90 percent of that market, while Google has a less than 1% share.

Google has not yet released details of its plans for resellers, but the company is apparently expected to do so later this month. The new commission structure is expected to go into effect in 2015.

Google did not respond immediately to a request seeking confirmation of the details contained in The Journal report.

The plan to increase reseller commissions is apparently the brainchild of Murali Sitaram, a former Cisco executive who was recruited by Google in July to be director of global partnerships and strategic alliances at Google for Work.

In a blog post Thursday, Sitaram did not refer to the planned commission changes mentioned in The Journal report. But he noted that Google had made some changes to its partner program in order to accommodate the evolving needs of enterprise customers and those in the education sector.

All of the company's existing partner programs for Google Apps, Chrome, Cloud Platform, Maps and Search will now be fused into a single 'Google for Work and Education Partner Program.'

The program will have three separate tracks for resellers. One is a Sales Track for resellers looking to sell Google for Work and Education products at high volume, Sitaram said. The second is a Services Track for partners specializing in services delivery, while the third is a Technology Track for partners who want to develop new products that complement or extend Google's own suite of products.

"The new program allows partners to better sell, service and innovate across the Google for Work and Education suite of products and platforms," Sitaram wrote.

The changes to Google's partner program continue the company's recent efforts to build up its enterprise capabilities.

In addition to Sitaram, the company this year has recruited Miles Ward, a former enterprise solutions architect at Amazon, as its global head of solutions for the Cloud Platform and former Microsoft executive Shahla Aly as director of global experience at Google for Work.

The new hires join a growing team of executives at Google with strong enterprise backgrounds, including Amit Singh, a former Oracle executive who is now in charge of Google for Work; Rahul Sood, a former SAP executive and current managing director of Google Apps; and Carl Schachter, previously at Oracle and currently vice president, Americas, for Google Enterprise.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.