Mavenlink, a top Google Apps Marketplace application providing project management and collaboration solutions, has teamed up with Google managed services and SMB reseller ViWo to launch Apps Domain Pros.
The goal of the venture is to speed up and improve the process for independent software vendors (ISVs) looking to bring their customers into—or extend those customers' usage of—the Google Apps Marketplace. According to Sean Crafts, chief customer officer for Mavenlink, many of its customers came to the company through the Google Apps Marketplace channel and are "struggling with support needs that are not Mavenlink specific."
Mavenlink encountered customer questions and needs around file storage solution Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Tasks, and other Google Apps products, so naturally, he says, it made sense to seek out a managed services company like ViWo, which specializes in Google Apps implementation and adoption. Crafts estimates approximately 60 percent to 65 percent of Mavenlink customers are Google Apps users.
"The biggest pain point for Google Apps resellers like me, who have the infrastructure in place, is obviously I need business and I need to generate leads," comments Crisantos Hajibrahim, founder and CEO of ViWo. "It works well for me…managing a services business [can be a] nightmare. You're dealing with so many [customers] and product companies don't want to focus on that. They want to focus on the product because that's a job in itself."
Another topical factor is the impact on the ISV itself. Crafts says the Mavenlink application becomes much more robust in functionality when it is integrated with Google Apps. As he puts it, "we could preach all of the values and benefits [of moving off of another technology platform to Google Apps] but we didn't have the capability in-house to service it." There are more than 400 ISVs in the Google Apps marketplace encountering the same problem, he claims.
Crafts says small businesses make up a majority of its customer base and ViWo primarily services SMBs. Google, which has gained traction with companies in the 50-and-under range for its Apps for Business, has also been active on the SMB advertising front with its recent launch of the Google AdWords business credit line designed to allow small and midsize companies to finance AdWords campaigns, for example, during peak selling conditions in order to attract new customers.