Recently Google announced a new tool that would allow users to migrate email, contacts and calendar data from on-premise and hosted Microsoft Exchange to Google Apps. The tool would specifically:

  • Perform a centrally managed bulk migration of users
  • Selectively migrate email, calendar or contacts (or any combination thereof)
  • Migrate in phases for very large migrations

Sounds great huh? Self service, a degree of automation and easing the on-ramp for adoption. But I wonder…

You see Google, the company that always prided itself on a direct to consumer channel strategy, has in recent months embarked on a strong reseller program – understanding that, at least when selling into larger enterprise, there is simply no avoiding customers preference for a local VAR, and near unanimous need for a services offering on top of the software itself.

Resellers have been a little nervous, at least in part due to doubts about Google’s commitment to them as a channel – after all when you’re used to great revenue from implementing an on-premise solution, the more paltry sums involved in a cloud product look decidedly shabby. It struck me that already nervous resellers would be even more nervous with this move by Google, a move that – at least to a certain extent – would see Google eat their own reseller’s lunch.

I put this to Scott McMullan, Google Apps lead within the Googleplex for his take on this. Unsurprisingly he dismissed my contention directly, saying that:

This gives both customers and VARs a reliable (and free) tool to move bits from one system to another.  Our VARs want this — they sell services around the use of this tool.

What better way to test my contention than to ask the resellers themselves. I spoke to Stuart Maxwell from Amanzi, a small IT shop, as well as Dave Livesey from Wave Adept (who specialize almost exclusively in Google apps implementations). I asked them:

me1 

Their replies were interesting:

stu1

wa1

wa2

Now a cynic would say that this is a case of self-interest with these particular VARs keen to publicly be seen to support Google – but knowing these two particular businesses personally, that’s almost definitely not the case. Looks like this is much more a case of Google providing a useful tool that its VARs can put to good use…

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Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

3 Comments
  • Hey Ben, just wanted to clarify my Twitter response… My understanding of your original question was that you were implying that this tool could be used by end-users to migrate their mail to Google Apps without any outside help, thus giving resellers/consultants/VARs less opportunity for revenue. So what I meant in my response was that Google's migration tool couldn't/shouldn't be used by end-users as it requires technical knowledge to install & configure it, and perform the actual migration.

    I stand by that comment, and if you read the Administration guide that accompanies the migration tool you'll see that it's far more involved than what Google's blog post implies. The migration tool looks like (I haven't used it yet) a great tool which VARs can use while migrating mail to Google Apps for their customers – it shouldn't be looked at as a threat to VARs.

    • Stuart – point taken…. I kind of think we're on a path that WILL see tools developed that are easy enough for end users to use… I guess we'll have to wait and see….

      • As Dave mentioned in one of his Twitter responses, the technical knowledge is just one part of the process. So even if the tool could be installed and configured automagically, there are still a lot of other processes that take place when migrating to another email system.

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