Another Nail in the Reseller’s Coffin? Verizon Bundles Broadband with Google Apps for Small Business
This morning Verizon announced a new program in collaboration with Google, combining Google Apps with Verizon broadband services into a bundle for small business. It’s not available everywhere yet (just in parts of 13 states), and it’s potentially competitive for anyone out there seeking to resell Google Apps or other cloud-based office productivity software to their small business clients. Here’s an excerpt from the Press Release:
This new offering, Google Apps for Verizon, is specifically designed to help smaller companies advertise by providing them with a domain name and domain name e-mail, and to boost their productivity by making cloud-based capabilities available to employees, whether in an office or on the go. With Google Apps for Verizon, customers can directly access from any device the business tools they need to do their jobs and serve their customers more effectively.
Google Apps for Verizon, which provides three free user accounts, is immediately available to businesses that subscribe to a bundle consisting of Verizon Internet service and either Verizon voice or TV service, or both. The bundles with Google Apps are available in Washington, D.C., and parts of 12 states: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Virginia. Google Apps for Verizon is also available as a stand-alone service to all businesses across the country for $3.99 per month per user.
By now we’re all certainly familiar with the heated debate surrounding client account control in this new world of self-service cloud computing solutions. This bundle from Verizon is another example of a competitive threat from the cloud that we’ll have to address. It’s not a death sentence, necessarily, but it could cost the unprepared reseller some clients. It is an opportunity. When Verizon steps in and provides Google Apps in addition to broadband connectivity, what role can we as Solution Providers play in supporting or managing that business’ IT?
Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself as you consider this possible threat or opportunity:
1) To what kind of small business does a bundle like this really appeal?
2) Do any of my clients meet that profile?
I see this as being appealing to VERY small businesses; the type that I define as “micro business”What’s microbusiness? A small business for whom true business-class technology solutions may be out of reach from a cost perspective; or “too much” for that business’ limited needs. Fewer-than-five user offices (realtors and small CPA firms for example). Newborn startups without any cash. Struggling small businesses with cash flow problems. The list goes on, but that’s a good start.
If your answer to #2 is yes, then you’ll probably have to face this dragon and defend the value you provide above and beyond what Verizon and Google could do for that client.