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By | Kelly Fiveash 21st May 2009 08:08

Google derides 'dinosaur' system integrators

Holier than thou finger points cloudwards

Google has hit out at old school system integrators and described them as “dinosaurs” who are out of touch with growing customer demands for more cloud-based products.

Mountain View’s head of EMEA partners at Google Enterprise, Peter Lorant, was speaking at Channel Expo in Birmingham yesterday, where he attempted to woo more resellers to adopt and punt the company’s Google Apps product.

“The days of the huge system integrators are waning, a lot of them are our partners, so I have to tread a fine line here,” he said.

“I’ve had conversations with some system integrators that went along the lines of ‘we know that you’re toxic for the business, but we have to do it anyway because our customers are asking us to do this.' Funnily enough I never heard from them again.”

Cloud integration was based on a different, more simplistic business model for the channel compared to system integration, claimed Lorant, where complexity and heavy lead times for consultancy and implementation tend to be at the core of what SIs do.

“There’s going to be a full frontal assault on changing that with the new cloud-based paradigm, because you’ve got to focus on simplicity and the user."

He added that many users loved the likes of Google Apps "because they totally rebel against this ivory tower that it has to be complex and you can’t do anything unless you call your IT administrator.

"I know this may be heresy to you and some of your customers, but this is the reality. This is the message that Google and many other cloud-based vendors are going out with.”

He urged resellers to “cross the chasm” into cloud computing, despite their valid concerns about security and what selling a software product that doesn’t come in a shrink-wrapped box actually means for the future of the channel.

However, Lorant also admitted that resellers shouldn't expect "spectacular revenue" from punting Google Apps to customers. Instead, he remained well and truly on-message regarding which way the web kingpin thinks the tech world is spinning in these gloomy economic times.

"Cloud computing is more than a recession-proof offering - it’s a way of life," he said, brushing aside Microsoft's hefty enterprise marketshare.

Google is currently recruiting more partners to join its cloudy vision. The company claims that over one million businesses worldwide have so far signed up to Google Apps, and it hopes to grab more with help from the channel.

Resellers interested in qualifying with Google's "Light Touch" programme will need to deploy 25 seats of Google Apps first, explained Lorant.

Google only signed up authorised IT channel players in January to flog the firm's online apps to biz customers. Before then Google had been selling its range of web-based word processing, spreadsheets, calendars and email apps, which first launched in February 2007, to businesses direct. ®

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