Sprint has signed on to offer Google Apps for Business and serve as enterprise support for the cloud-based productivity suite.
As a mobility reseller of Google Apps, Sprint will put its customer care, billing platform and device and network knowledge behind the offering. Besides selling varying deployment packages Sprint will offer add-ons like single sign-on.
John Tudhope, director of product marketing at Sprint, said the offering will scale up for the enterprise and down for smaller companies. It will start with the $5-$10 standard Google offers and then Sprint will wrap some more features around that while helping with deployment. The carrier also plans to bring in a partner to help provide free e-learning support.
“Google Apps helps businesses work better together with familiar tools they can trust," Murali Sitaram, director of strategic partnerships for Google Enterprise, said in a statement. “Our partners are critical in this effort, providing valuable cloud and mobility solutions to customers of all sizes and across diverse industries.”
With the inherent mobile focus that comes with moving to the cloud, Sprint hopes to work its own mobile device and network capabilities into the offering. But Sprint’s Google support won’t be limited to Sprint network customers.
Tudhope said there may be opportunities in the future to bundle Google hardware into the offering. He said that Sprint will hopefully be selling Chromebooks in the future but that Google’s browser-based applications make for a device-agnostic offering.
Sprint and Google teaming up comes shortly after Apple and IBM announced an enterprise application collaboration around Apple’s iOS hardware and Tudhope admitted that Sprint is looking very closely at that deal.
“I’m not sure yet if that announcement with iOS and IBM really impacts Google Apps for Business because [Google Apps is] browser-based and can go across any device, versus living purely in a mobile operating system,” Tudhope said.
But he said where that partnership is more about strengthening the iOS ecosystem, Sprint’s Google Apps for Business represents more of an expanded offering and support hub for existing collaboration software.
Sprint’s new deal with Google is similar to its existing partnership with Microsoft Office 365. That offer is still on-going and Tudhope said this Google partnership will help address the “influx of millennials” who grew up using Google apps from a consumer prospective coming into the workplace.