In his concluding remarks to a major keynote presentation last week, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said this: “This is a very defining moment for all of us around the world. To have the hope and the optimism to reimagine your business as you recover from the pandemic, we at Google take responsibility to support you in that mission.”
Just two years ago, it would have been unfathomable to imagine a Google Cloud executive saying something like that. It was customer-centric, expansive, personal and deeply human in its big-time ambition.
I think the pre-Kurian Google Cloud would have said something like, “So let me repeat this one more time: here are 10 ways you can fix the dumb IT things you’ve done in the past, and if you listen to us and do exactly what we tell you, then maybe someday you can be a little bit like us.”
I’ll offer the details in just a moment, but of Kurian’s many achievements during his 18 months at Google Cloud, the biggest one is that he is, in parallel, driving massive change in the types of advanced technologies and solutions Google Cloud offers while also packaging those capabilities in an empathetic fashion focused on what customers need instead of on how wonderful Google Cloud is.
Look at the sentiments expressed by a few customers highlighted on video within Kurian’s keynote presentation for this year’s online version of the annual Google Next event:
“We asked, ‘How can we apply new, innovative technology to be able to process those interactions with automation at a faster pace?’ That’s what led us to Google Cloud. With the power of Google Cloud, infrastructure build time is minimized. Now, our team can look at hundreds of calls a day in minutes instead of weeks, with an 80% reduction in processing time… Google’s been a great partner supporting our members to help them realize their best health potential. Thinking differently about healthcare, thinking differently about how we do our business in a way that hasn’t been done before.”
“Our main focus is to make sure that we make good food accessible to all and through all distribution channels. It’s going to take a whole company to make that change possible. We have rolled out G Suite across 140,000 employees. Thanks to Google Cloud platform technology, we are redefining the ways of doing shopping, and are developing an omnichannel value proposition for our customers. We’re extremely proud to have Google as a partner to empower Carrefour to achieve its ambition.”
“We’re approaching brand new problems, building brand new businesses in spaces we haven’t been in before. These are big moves for us: we are a wholesaler of risk… Google’s capabilities are so extraordinary. The way that we factor compute cycles, the way that we express our technology, that’s been transformed dramatically. You basically have all these building blocks already existing that Google provides you, that helps you to do the project faster and helps you evolve faster. Google’s been able to both meet our needs in the moment and also been a great thought partner about where this could go over time.”
Kurian brings a human touch to immense business challenges
While each of those three very different types of businesses—healthcare, retail, and finance—had very different types of technology challenges, they all had the same type of business challenge: the need to reimagine their businesses.
And that is precisely the point Kurian focused on when he promised that Google Cloud will “take responsibility to support you in that mission” as its customers summon “the hope and the optimism to reimagine your business as you recover from the pandemic.”
Google Cloud has always had some superb technology. But before Kurian, it was driven by and determined by engineers and to some extent by Google’s own experience, rather than by the real-world needs of businesses that have mismatched systems, incompatible applications, entanglements of databases, blobs of storage and a simultaneous desire to overcome all that and get to the cloud.
From his first public commentary as Google Cloud CEO, Kurian has hammered home the need for Google Cloud to have great empathy for its customers and their admittedly imperfect situations.
And as he laid out in his Google Cloud Next OnAir keynote last week, the company’s new product lineup and its go-to-market approaches are all about helping customers achieve their goals rather than showcasing how advanced Google engineering happens to be.
Kurian outlines his vision for Google Cloud and its customers
From Kurian’s keynote, here are my major impressions of how and why Kurian has turned Google Cloud into the fastest-growing vendor in the Cloud Wars Top 10, with revenue rising at 50% or more.
- Check out Google Cloud’s mission as stated early and emphatically by Kurian: “To accelerate every organization’s ability to digitally transform their business and to reimagine their business through data-powered innovation.”
- Kurian has brushed aside the traditional language of IaaS, PaaS and SaaS, and described Google’s solutions in this way: distributed IaaS, a digital-transformation platform, and industry-specific digital-transformation solutions.
- He highlighted Google Cloud’s specific efforts to help customers optimize their SAP workloads in the cloud. That’s a trend I recently highlighted in Hey Microsoft: Google Cloud Is Pushing You Out as SAP’s #1 Cloud Partner.
- Anthos, the new application-modernization solution, is now available not only in Google Cloud but also for AWS workloads and is in “preview” status for Azure.
- Its Big Query analytics tool can now query data in AWS and Microsoft Azure without that data having to be moved into Google Cloud. In essence, Big Query goes to where the data resides, rather than forcing customers to go through all the hassle of bringing the data to Big Query.
- Confidential Computing is Google Cloud’s commitment to securing data not only at rest and in transit, but also as it is being processed.
- For its industry-specific solutions (I like to think of them as next-gen SaaS apps built on AI and ML), Kurian outlined 3 ways it can help different industries:
- accelerate monetization of omnichannel commerce;
- transform to data-driven and customer-centric organizations;
- modernize core retail operations.
- help monetize 5G end edge computing;
- transform how customers are served;
- modernize core network operations.
- accelerate omnichannel banking;
- transform how data is used;
- modernize core IT operations.
Healthcare and Life Sciences:
- accelerate drug discovery, delivery and distribution;
- improve delivery of patient care in secure and continuous way;
- modernize core IT infrastructure.
Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Google Cloud was among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and/or Evans Strategic Communications LLC.
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