Understanding the Hesitance of MSPs Towards Google Workspace

Written by Chris Tate on April 1, 2024

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I recently saw a post on LinkedIn from a managed service provider (MSP) who had turned down an opportunity because the prospect used Google Workspace. While I understood their reasoning for doing this, it did get me thinking: Why are MSPs so hesitant to work with Google?

I created a casual poll on LinkedIn and the results revealed a significant trend: a majority of MSPs seem to be bypassing Google Workspace as a viable service offering. This revelation prompted me to delve deeper into the matter, engaging with various MSPs, including some who have featured in the JumpCloud Partner Interviews series and some MSPs who aren’t JumpCloud partners, to try to find out more.

This article highlights the findings of these discussions, including some of the main reasons why MSPs miss (or actively avoid) opportunities related to Google Workspace, and how they might readjust their perspective on what these opportunities really mean to their business. 

Google’s Ubiquity vs. Workspace’s Obscurity

Despite Google’s pervasive presence in the digital realm — undeniably recognized even by those MSPs with a Microsoft-centric outlook — the adoption of Google Workspace by MSPs as a major part of their business remains surprisingly low. 

This is curious, considering many MSPs leverage a plethora of other Google services: Google’s search engine, Chrome browser, and even apps like Google Maps play a role in their personal lives, while many have made the switch to supporting Android devices for their clients (post the Windows Phone era). Moreover, Google’s advertising platform is a staple for MSPs aiming to promote their services. 

So, what causes Google Workspace to be left out of their service portfolio? And, despite their similarities, the question arises: Why does Google Workspace not hold the same appeal for MSPs as Microsoft 365?

Launched in 2006 under various monikers before settling on Google Workspace in 2020, this offering encompasses a suite of productivity tools designed to rival Microsoft 365’s offerings, including Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Meet, and Chat. 

The Shift in Work Dynamics

The nature of work is evolving, with startups and freshly-minted professionals leaning towards solutions that promise ease of deployment and familiarity. Google Workspace, with its significant adoption in the educational sector — boasting around 80 million users — seems to be the go-to platform for this emerging workforce. 

Google Workspace’s user base spans across startups, small businesses, and even large corporations, showcasing its versatility. More and more workers prefer it, given their use of it throughout their educational career and thus their ability to showcase their proficiency as a valuable skillset. Despite this, a direct market share comparison with Microsoft’s offerings is challenging due to the prevalence of Google Workspace’s free tier. 

That being said, this user base, accustomed to Google’s ecosystem throughout their education and early career, seems to represent a huge potential market that MSPs could tap into. 

When it comes to remote users, it’s just easier with Google Workspace, users love it, they find that Google Mail is a better platform than Outlook and Google Drive much more intuitive than Sharepoint

Eric Grau, Chibitek

Nevertheless, the question remains: Why do some MSPs remain reluctant to incorporate Google Workspace into their portfolios?

Historical Allegiances and Future Opportunities

The answer, it seems, lies in history. 

Many MSPs have deep roots in an era dominated by Microsoft’s on-premise solutions, such as Small Business Server. This long standing relationship with Microsoft products has undoubtedly influenced their service offerings. However, as the digital landscape evolves, MSPs should be careful not to overlook potential opportunities by not diversifying their portfolios to include Google Workspace.

If you’re in the business of selling labor then Microsoft 365 might be a better fit, but if you’re in the business of selling services then Google Workspace wins

Tony Sheets, Umzuzu

The case for adding Google Workspace to an MSP’s service offering is compelling. It not only broadens the potential client base but also aligns with the growing trend of businesses seeking flexible, cloud-based solutions. What’s more, the procurement and management of Google Workspace, facilitated by MSP distribution partners, is as straightforward as the integrations to MSP tools, such as JumpCloud. 

I don’t understand why more MSPs aren’t embracing Google Workspace, getting staff trained up to support it is really simple and can easily be added to your offering

Chris McKewon, Xceptional

As History Repeats Itself, Don’t Be Left Behind

Putting myself in the shoes of MSP owners, I see a parallel between the initial hesitancy towards Apple Mac support and the current stance on Google Workspace. Just as the market demanded a shift towards comprehensive support for Macs, the growing ubiquity of Google Workspace suggests a similar pivot may be beneficial for MSPs everywhere. Embracing Google Workspace could well be akin to embracing the future of work — a step that forward-thinking MSPs might consider taking sooner rather than later.

Let’s continue the dialogue. I’m keen to hear your thoughts and experiences with Google Workspace in the MSP landscape. Connect with me on the JumpCloud Community and share your insights.

In a world where adaptation is key, might Google Workspace be the new frontier for MSPs? Only time will tell, but the conversation is just beginning.

Chris Tate

Chris is always thinking, talking and writing about MSPs. His role at JumpCloud is to get the MSP into every meeting we have and every decision we make. Outside of JumpCloud Chris can often be found watching football (soccer) and drinking beer.

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