The Google Apps channel team is preparing to hit the road, meeting with potential channel partners and cloud resellers in Boston, New York and Chicago in April and May. For resellers that continue to avoid the cloud market, here's a reality check.

The full-day Google reseller meetings -- positioned as Coffee. Cloud. Conversation... -- will certainly provide an overview of the Google Apps Authorized Reseller program. But the interesting point will involve real-world, live case studies from current Google partners.

Admittedly, some channel skeptics don't know how they'll generate reasonable profits working with Google (symbol: GOOG). Indeed, Google Apps costs only about $50 per user per year, and channel partners only make about $10 per  user per year in recurring revenues.

Consulting in the Cloud

So can partners really profit from Google Apps? For the answer, check in with Cloud Sherpas -- one of Google's largest authorized resellers.

Earlier this month Cloud Sherpas merged with GlobalOne, a top consulting firm focused on Salesforce.com customers. During a recent conversation with Talkin' Cloud, Cloud Sherpas CEO David Northington said combined revenues for Cloud Sherpas and GlobalOne tripled in 2011.

The interesting twist: Northington didn't really mention recurring revenues. Instead, he emphasized consulting fees, training fees and some custom application work that Cloud Sherpas delivers. Northington also promoted the fact that Cloud Sherpas is a cloud consulting firm.

So there's the lesson: The most successful Google Apps resellers are actually IT consulting firms built for the cloud. But no doubt, smaller resellers are trying to figure out their potential place in the cloud -- and their potential role in the Google Apps ecosystem.

If you're in that position, Google wants to have coffee with you really soon...