I’ve written before about Cloud Sherpas the company that has built an advanced administrator toolset for Google Apps. originally the toolset was an add-on to their own Google Apps reseller business, it seems to have grown well beyond that. Cloud Sherpas are announcing today that their SherpaTools product has been installed into 16000 domains worldwide covering three million Google Apps users – that’s a signnificant figure, especially given the fact that SherpaTools is aimed at the top of the pyramid, larger organizations, who don’t feature heavily in Google Apps’ user base. One of he original Apps in the Google Apps Marketplace, SherpaTools has gone on to be used in 114 different countries.

At GoogleIO today, Cloud Sherpas are announcing a new version of SherpaTools with a bunch of new features including new admin delegation, end-user provisioning, and privacy features. Details on these features are as follows;

  • ConstituenciesCloud Sherpas has added the concept of constituencies to SherpaTools. Help desk workers with partial admin responsibilities can now be restricted to helping users within their constituent bases only. For example, an admin who is responsible for supporting an organization’s Engineering department may not have access to users in the Finance department.
  • Instant Seat Purchase – Organizations that buy their Google Apps licenses from Cloud Sherpas directly now have the ability to instantly purchase additional end-user licences via SherpaTools
  • Support for Standard Edition – SherpaTools now supports the free version of Google Apps, previously known as Google Apps Standard Edition. This will significantly increase the number of organizations that have access to SherpaTools.

All this functionality is really useful for Google Apps admins, which begs a very relevant question. If it’s basic functionality, then why is it up to a third party to provide it – surely the lack of such obvious features is a long term impediment to the uptake of Google Apps, especially in larger organizations?

I see one of two possibilities for Cloud Sherpas – one is that Google eats their lunch by introducing the same or similar functionality within Google apps (some would, uncharitably call this the Twitter approach). The econd possibility is that Google swoops in and buys Cloud Sherpas  – that seems a distinct possibility to me, especially since they are moving ahead both in user count and functional breadth.

Watch this space.

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.

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