Google says it will extend its program to encourage companies under contract to other service providers to switch to Google Apps for Work by offering its productivity suite for free until the contract expires.
In October, Google began subsidizing Google Apps for Work for business customers locked into Enterprise Agreements (EAs), as a way to encourage them to consider Google's software. For companies not under contract, Google offered to help pay for migrations from other services.
Neil Delaney, director of global inside sales for mid-market, Google Apps for Work, said in a blog post Tuesday that, since then, almost 200,000 additional users have "gone Google."
Google now says it will extend the program through the end of 2016, and also expand it to provide assistance to smaller companies interested in Google Apps.
"Companies between 250 and 3,000 that currently have an EA with another vendor can qualify for zero-cost Google Apps licenses for the term of their existing EA," said Delaney. "And now, companies with 100 users (previously 250) to as many as 3,000 can qualify for a Deployment Voucher."
Google is sweetening the pot by offering mid-market customers that sign up through this promotion with free access to a $750 Security Workshop run by its integration Partners. The company claims that the security benefits of Google Apps are particularly useful to mid-market businesses.
One such benefit is access to two-factor authentication through Yubico Security Keys, which are available to Google Apps customers for 50% off. Google's Recommended for Google Apps for Work partners are also offering discounts on products like AODocs, Dialpad, Powertools, Prosperworks, and Smartsheet.
In an email, ProsperWorks CEO Jon Lee praised the vision and ease-of-use of Google Apps for Work. "The Google Apps for Work program has drastically reduced the barrier to entry for businesses moving to the cloud, and we are pleased to be a part of this important initiative," he said. "We look forward to helping companies harness the power of the cloud, and optimizing the way sales teams collaborate and communicate with ProsperWorks."
Google is continuing a tradition of enticing customers to reconsider vendor relationships through tools that reduce the burden of change or through outright financial incentives. When it entered the enterprise business in 2002, it was viewed with skepticism by large companies. It lacked the enterprise sales force to woo customers away from longstanding relationships.
Since then, having established its commitment to enterprise software, Google has tried to reduce the friction that can make switching services unpleasant with migration tools like Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook, Google Apps Migration for Lotus Notes, and the Google Sites API.
But Google's competitors have done the same. Apple, for example, offers the Move to iOS app to help Android users move their data to an iOS device. Microsoft Office 365 provides a migration tool to move messages out of Google Apps Gmail mailboxes.
Companies do their best to corral their customers. But for every fence, there's a competitor willing to knock a hole in it. In the end, the best defense against defection is great service at a great price.