Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is making moves against Microsoft and Amazon
Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is making moves against Microsoft and Amazon

Google Cloud Intensifies Battles Against Microsoft, Amazon with 4 Key Moves

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Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is buying and building new firepower to snatch customers, prospects and market share from Microsoft and Amazon in the viciously competitive enterprise-cloud marketplace.

While each of these moves is significant, the true impact is how they cumulatively reveal Google Cloud’s true intention of becoming not just a better version of itself but ultimately the world’s pre-eminent enterprise-cloud player.

Already this month, Kurian and Google Cloud have strengthened their capabilities considerably through four deals:

  • the acquisition of no-code app-development vendor AppSheet;
  • a strategic partnership with IBM that strengthens both companies in hybrid cloud;
  • an enhanced premium-support underscoring Google Cloud’s renewed commitment to handling mission-critical workloads; and
  • an apps-centric partnership in India with Airtel that extends Google Cloud’s capabilities in that vibrant market.

While none of these moves is itself a blockbuster, I believe that in aggregate, they offer a perfect picture of how aggressively Kurian and his team will be pursuing growth opportunities throughout 2020 against Microsoft—the #1 company in the Cloud Wars Top 10—and Amazon, the #2 player.

Cloud Wars

Top 10 Rankings — Jan. 20, 2020

1. Microsoft — Azure reliability is top priority as Q2 cloud revenue should top $12B
2. Amazon — An influential survey of CIOs shows Azure is more popular than AWS
3. Salesforce — 20-year itch: can Benioff outflank SAP in redefining modern CRM?
4. SAP — Can Morgan and Klein turn Experience Management into global standard?
5. Oracle — Larry Ellison brawling with SAP, Amazon and Salesforce
6. Google — Thomas Kurian is our CEO of the Year for driving customer-first culture
7. IBM — Bank of America says cloud has saved billions in IT costs
8. Workday — Can Bhusri continue to beat SAP & Oracle for huge Fortune 100 deals?
9. ServiceNow — McDermott’s moonshot: triple rev. to $10B, become ‘most admired’
10. TBD — New addition coming soon!

Before we take a look at each of those four moves that Google Cloud has stacked up in January as Kurian begins his second year as CEO, recall that we chose Kurian as our Cloud Wars CEO of the Year for 2019 because of the sweeping strategic overhaul he’s led at Google Cloud since taking over there a year ago.

While Google Cloud’s always had brilliant technology, its product strategy always lacked a customer-centric focus. Kurian has totally flipped that mindset and culture. (Hear from the CEO directly in our one-on-one interview from late 2019.)

Kurian is tripling the size of Google Cloud’s global sales team. He’s overhauling support and service under a comprehensive “Customer Experience” team. He’s revamping the entire go-to-market strategy and execution, while simultaneously looking to create a new set of high-level “business-optimization solutions” that tie together Google Cloud’s advanced capabilities in data, analytics, ML and app development.

If you add to that the name recognition Google has across the world, plus the phenomenal financial resources of the parent company, plus Kurian’s reputation as one of the world’s top enterprise-technology executives, the total reveals a company with the potential to eventually challenge Microsoft for the #1 spot in the Cloud Wars.

But for now, Kurian and company have lots more execution to deliver. And here’s how each of those four recent moves will help Google Cloud move forward.

1. AppSheet

In announcing this deal one week ago, Business Application Platform vice-president Amit Zavery wrote, “This acquisition helps enterprises empower millions of citizen developers to more easily create and extend applications without the need for professional coding skills. According to “The Forrester Wave™: Low-Code Platforms For Business Developers,” Q2 2019, ‘AppSheet has the most aggressive strategy and roadmap for empowering business people as developers. The platform had the highest score possible in the commercial model criterion and it shows in a stellar experience along with strong features for mobile app development, data design, application scaling, and documentation generation.’”

2. IBM Power Platform

The day before the AppSheet deal was announced, Global Ecosystems corporate VP Kevin Ichhpurani wrote about a major partnership with IBM for helping customers build hybrid-cloud environments. Because many enterprises use IBM Power Systems to run essential workloads including SAP ERP applications and Oracle databases, those customers have struggled to find an ideal way to run those in the cloud, Ichhpurani said. He explained:

“IBM Power Systems for Google Cloud offers a path to do just that, providing the best of both the cloud and on-premise worlds. You can run enterprise workloads like SAP and Oracle on the IBM Power servers that you’ve come to trust, while starting to take advantage of all the technical capabilities and favorable economics that Google Cloud offers.” 

3. Premium-support enhancements

The day after the AppSheet deal was announced, VP of Cloud Support Atul Nanda offered this perspective on the new services: “Premium Support helps bring consistency between the support plans for Google Cloud Platform and G Suite; a more competitive set of features and services; simplified pricing compared to the previous Google Cloud support offerings; intelligent systems (like third-party technology support, Support API and Recommenders); enterprise-class services; and as mentioned, customer context-aware interactions to help optimize the customer experience in Google Cloud.” 

4. New commitment to India via Airtel partnership

By enabling one of India’s largest telecom providers to offer G-Suite to small and mid-sized businesses, Google Cloud hopes to gain significant traction in the large and rapidly expanding Indian market. A livemint.com article quoted Kurian as saying, “The combination of G Suite’s collaboration and productivity tools with Airtel’s digital-business offerings will help accelerate digital innovations for thousands of Indian businesses.”

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