Key Analyst Insight Roundup from Google Cloud Next ‘19

Contributed by Research Vice President Matt Aslett

Earlier this month, some of 451 Research's analysts across multiple channel disciplines joined 30,000+ Google Cloud Next attendees in San Francisco. As in previous years, the event allowed our team to ponder whether and how Google would be able to translate its popularity with developers into enterprise adoption.

Having attended all three of the Google Cloud Next events (as well as the preceding GCP NEXT event in 2016), we have found it interesting to watch the event become increasingly enterprise-focused while the Google Cloud business attempts to maintain its engagement with developers and startups. Although the latter are still able to experiment to their heart's content using Google Cloud services, there is a clear strategy shift from the company to focus its sales teams on major deployments that will be taken into production at scale. This will increasingly involve Google's internal engineers engaging more directly with enterprise customers, particularly for AI projects, to build playbooks for repeatable, transformational use cases. To do so will likely require the company to engage more fully with consulting and service providers, as well as build up its own professional services organization.

When thinking about overall enterprise strategy, we found that while Google Cloud undoubtedly has had some success with enterprise customers over the years, the flagship customers, such as Spotify, have tended to be digital-native. Deliberate attempts to refocus its sales strategy landed more traditional flagship accounts, but it is fair to say that engaging with enterprise customers while maintaining Google's relationship with developers has not been an easy balancing act. New CEO Thomas Kurian outlined how the company is hiring more enterprise sales staff, but that is only one aspect of how Google is changing – and had already begun to change prior to Kurian's appointment – to address enterprise customers.

Another notable change is Google’s more empathetic approach to meeting customers where they are – accepting that while many potential customers might like to ‘run like Google,' legacy on-premises investments combined with adoption of other cloud services often don't make that possible. The launch of the Anthos hybrid cloud platform for on-premises and multi-cloud application development and management is a good indication of that strategy change, while there has also been a detectable change of emphasis toward describing Google Cloud Platform less as a destination and more as an engine for digital transformation. There is also a greater focus on use cases and ‘solutions' rather than stand-alone products/services. This should serve the company well, particularly in relation to AI and ML, although it will also likely require an increased investment in consulting and professional services.

What we have provided here are only some of the high-level impressions from our analysts. 451 Research subscribers can access this Market Insight report in our Research Dashboard that features all the high-level takes on the most interesting developments from the conference across hybrid- and multi-cloud, AI and machine learning, data and analytics, security, workforce productivity, and IoT. Not a current subscriber? Apply for a Trial.
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Prepping for HCTS – Q&A with Research Vice President Matt Aslett

Next up in our “Prepping for HCTS – Q&A” series, I spoke with Research Vice President Matt Aslett. Matt has overall responsibility for the data platforms and analytics coverage and he last presented at HCTS in 2013.

Q: What will you be discussing in this session?

A: Our research shows that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are among the highest priorities for enterprises and service providers as they seek to deliver data-driven efficiencies and competitive advantage – 29% of survey respondents ranked ML/AI as a priority for 2018 and 12% of respondents currently use these technologies (See Figure 1).Vote digital pulse 2017 Matt QA
AI and ML fundamentally change the relationship between humans and computers, because tasks thought previously beyond computers – and thus solely the preserve of humans – are rapidly becoming possible using software. In fact, 47% of survey respondents say they plan to use AI and machine learning within the next two years. I’ll be talking about 451’s perspective on AI and ML, the potential they have to drive significant long-term change, as well as the likely immediate impact on infrastructure and service provision in particular.

Q: Why should HCTS attendees find this session valuable/what can they hope to gain?

A: 451 Research believes that artificial intelligence is set to revolutionize not only the software industry, but also the way we live, work, learn and play. And yet, while the long-term implications of AI are truly revolutionary, the initial improvements are likely to appear relatively routine and narrow. This dichotomy has the potential to create disillusionment but is par for the course in terms of the history of technological revolution.

Humanity’s ability to perceive the future is often limited by our current reality and a tendency to simultaneously over-estimate short-term gains while underestimating long-term implications. Within this context, we’ll discuss some of the anticipated benefits of AI and machine learning for infrastructure and service provision in particular: from automating IT service desks to ensuring data centers are run as efficiently as possible to capacity forecasting. The potential to apply these technologies is so vast that the challenge can be knowing where to deploy resources first. As such, we’ll also provide a practical guide to early AI use-cases and examples, 451 Research’s five-step process for success with machine learning and cover key questions such as:
  • Why now for AI and machine learning and how to get started?
  • How and AI and ML help me run my data centers more efficiently?
  • How can elements of IT service provision be automated using AI and ML?

Q: Why are you excited to attend this year’s HCTS?

A: HCTS is always a great event with a mixture of interesting and educational content as well as the ability to socialize with like-minded decision-makers and thought-leaders. As usual, there’s a great agenda with interesting presentations and discussions involving both 451 Research analysts and industry luminaries. This year’s event promises to be particularly interesting given the emergence of the age on consumption, as well as the confluence of multiple industry trends, including cloud, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence.

To hear Matt discuss applications for AI within the enterprise, register for HCTS 2018 which will be held at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, September 24-26. Keep an eye out for the other posts in our ongoing series, including our Q&A with William Fellows.

Figure 1 from Voice of the Enterprise (VoTE) – Digital Pulse: Budgets and Outlooks 2017
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