On the other hand, there are also objections to SaaS products, such as occasional performance and availability issues and security concerns.
SaaS products are part of the cloud computing trend, which also includes the provision of IT infrastructure services via the Internet, like storage and server capacity.
"In general, there has been a lot more awareness about cloud computing [recently] and about the transition [to that model] that has been taking place," said Rishi Chandra, senior product manager of Google Apps. "Many partners have been coming to us and telling us they see the [cloud computing] momentum and that they want to get involved."
A participating reseller that is betting big on this cloud computing trend is Excel Micro in Philadelphia. The company, founded in 1991, changed its entire focus five years ago from IT networking to cloud-based software, said Joseph Vaccone, president.
"We're excited about this shift into the cloud. The current economic conditions are going to force the model a bit faster than what we would have projected last year," said Vaccone. He expects Google Apps-related business to account for 25 percent of the company's revenue by the end of this year.
Companies interested in applying to the program can find out more information about the requirements online. Google will begin giving partners the green light to resell Apps Premier toward the end of March.
About 50 partners have been participating in the reseller program's pilot phase.
This Apps reseller program is an extension of the partner programs Google has had for some time for its enterprise products, like Apps and the enterprise search device Search Appliance.
Google has an Enterprise Partners program for third parties that offer services for Google enterprise products. For example, Cap Gemini made a deal with Google in September 2007 to offer Apps Premier services to large organizations.
Google also has a Solutions Marketplace of products that extend the functionality of Google enterprise products.
Apps, which also has the free Standard and Education versions, is in use at more than 1 million businesses by more than 10 million end-users.
Some large organizations that use Apps Premier include Genentech, Telegraph Media Group and the Washington, D.C., government.