Google’s Second Smartest Channel Partner Move Ever
Just when you start to question Google’s channel strategy, the search and cloud company makes a dramatic move for the better. In perhaps the second smartest channel move in the company’s history, Google has acquired Orbitera.
What’s so smart about the move? Orbitera develops a commerce platform that “makes buying and selling software in the cloud simple, seamless and scalable for all kinds of businesses, including independent software vendors, service providers and IT channel organizations.”
Reread that paragraph. Google has acquired a platform that essentially empowers all types of channel companies with cloud capabilities. In some ways, it reminds me of Ingram Micro acquiring Odin and Ensim, two cloud automation platforms.
Indeed, “Orbitera automates many of the processes associated with billing, packaging and pricing optimization for leading businesses and ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) supporting customers running in the cloud. More than 60,000 enterprise stacks have been launched on Orbitera,” Google says.
Orbitera’s true believers include some impressive channel-oriented customers — namely ITMethods (an MSP focused on Amazon), SysGain (a SharePoint cloud expert) and Avnet. In other words, I suspect Avnet Cloud Marketplace is built atop Orbitera, though I could be wrong.
If Google plays its cards right, Orbitera could emerge as a leading SaaS-enablement platform for ISVs. But…
… Google has also been known to stumble with channel strategies. For an example, just look at Google’s smartest channel move ever, which ultimately stumbled: Launching the original Google Apps channel partner program. That effort allowed partners to control end customer billing — a key feature that Microsoft withheld from BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) and Office 365 for several years.
Then The Stumble
Google Apps enjoyed an early channel lead over Office 365, but the search giant lost its channel and cloud focus for an extended period of time. The company began to regain some cloud credibility when it hired Diane Greene — a VMware co-founder — in 2015. Fast forward to present day and there are tangible signs of progress, especially as Google Cloud Platform gains more and more artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities.
Next up: Executing on the Orbitera buyout. It’s a very smart purchase. Now, Google needs to show that it’s equally savvy on the execution front…