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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