Google grows up: My observations from Google Next 2019

I had the pleasure of attending Google Next in San Francisco recently. Being there as a partner participant was great to see how far Google has come in terms of how they work with partners and enterprise customers in general (a far cry to being sequestered in the Marina District). Here are some of my impressions:

  • Like Amazon, Google realizes that it isn’t a “cloud-only” world out there. According to one of the keynote speakers, “80% of the workloads out there are still on premise.” Customers need help managing their computing environments in general, and migrating to the cloud if/when that makes sense. If you didn’t see it, check out Google Anthos. This is a smart move.

  • Cloud platform reliability matters. As one speaker said, “SAP customers can lose as much as $3M per hour if their applications go down.” Which forces Google and their peers to focus on “live migration” and failover solutions, which will only accelerate the shift to the cloud as CIOs become more comfortable with cloud reliability.

  • Google also realizes that enterprise customers need choices in terms of their cloud platforms. Some applications and workloads are best suited to certain platforms. Some customers can’t afford to be locked in to any one platform and demand portability. Don’t fight it, Google. It’s how your target enterprise buyers think.

  • Which leads me to an interesting observation. As the cloud platform providers mature and companies continue to deploy more cloud applications, does it makes sense to still claim that “9 out of the top 10 financial providers in the world use our platform”? Because they are also using the other two guys’ solutions as well? (And when will we stop talking about “the cloud”? Five years? It still feels like “us vs. them”.)

  • Google gets The Enterprise. "Enterprise-readiness” was a key theme. Not only in terms of understanding the customers’ computing environment and the solutions they need, but also in terms of how they are re-engineering their GTM teams. Focusing on 6 key verticals (healthcare, retail, financial services, media/entertainment, manufacturing and public sector). Hiring senior executives to head up each vertical effort and taking a solution-oriented sales approach. Sounds like they are copying Oracle’s playbooks there (finally).

  • They are also making strides when it comes to working with the channel. Investing in executives such as Carolee Gearhart, with enterprise channel credentials. It was good to hear acknowledgement that a majority of deals are being closed with partner involvement.

Google has always had smart people. It's good to see that they are now looking outside of their organization to recognize what solutions companies need and how they will select and deploy them. Can’t wait to see what they announce next year!