Inside Google’s Quest To Become A Cloud Computing Giant

Though late to the party, GCP has seen robust growth over the years.

In mid-July this year, Google Cloud announced the plan to expand its footprint in India with its second ‘Cloud Region’ under the leadership of Thomas Kurian. The Google Cloud CEO said the significant capital commitment from Google captures the growing opportunity for customers in the Indian market.  

Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Microsoft Azure are the leading cloud providers by a long shot. Though late to the party, GCP has seen robust growth over the years.

Google Cloud’s revenue has more than doubled in two years since Kurian’s appointment and is growing at a quick pace under his supervision. In 2019, GCP cut deals with seven open-sourced companies. Even COVID-19 pandemic, Google Cloud’s workforce increased from 25,000 in 2019 to 37,000 at present.

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Google Cloud exceeded expectations and reported $4.63 billion in revenue in the last quarter– a 45% jump year-on-year. The operating losses have come down to $591 million from $1.43 billion last year.

Despite Google Cloud’s rapid growth, Google ranks #3 after AWS and Microsoft Azure. In the first quarter whe Google lost $974 million, AWS made $4.16 billion. While Google’s market share in infrastructure cloud services has increased from 7% in 2019 to 9% now, Microsoft has grown to 20%. AWS has about a third of the market share. 

According to CFO Ruth Porat, Google is more committed to the enterprise cloud market than ever. Alphabet is investing heavily in cloud-computing infrastructure.

Kurian’s strategies

According to Cloud Wars, a measure of the ten most influential cloud vendors globally, Google’s OCTO is the company’s ‘secret weapon’. The Office of the CTO, according to the organisation, is more about Google’s customers acting as the CTO than a formal head. 

Credit: cloudwars

In the past, Google had approached cloud computing with an engineering mindset and a focus on technology, but in vain. Then, Kurian brought in old-school salesmanship to the search giant. 

Kurian has turned the company’s focus from engineering to client service. This means stepping away from transaction deals and stepping into strategic partnerships. 

The CEO coaxed top executives from other companies including Rob Enslin, the president of the cloud business group at SAP SE

The duo went on a hiring spree and offered attractive pay packages to lure in seasoned sales people. For instance, in comparison to an enterprise sales executive who makes $191,000 a year in the US, Kurian’s seasoned salespeople make $600,000. 

Kurian has also brought the enterprise tactic of software packaging to strengthen Google cloud’s standing in the database and analytics market. The strategy of including other apps, including Android and Maps, with analytics tools has helped boost cloud deals. 

Read more about GCP’s tools to accelerate ML workloads here

Strategic partnerships

Google has signed high profile clients and provided enhanced services to retain current customers. 

The Home Depot Inc migrated its IT systems and customer service software from its own data centres to Google Cloud servers before the pandemic. Google Cloud also provided the computing storage and power to the retailer. The companies also collaborated to build various cloud apps to enable services like curbside pickup or heavy equipment rentals.

Major League Baseball has migrated its computing structure to Google Cloud to deliver personalised highlights, data-driven decisions, and cost predictability. Google Cloud is the ad engagement and analytics platform for Twitter. Google Cloud is also working with Louis Vuitton to facilitate demand forecasting, inventory management and product recommendations. Google is helping old school clients like Ford Motor Co to develop new digital services.

During the Data Cloud Summit in May, the tech giant introduced new cloud services including Dataplex, a data fabric for improved data consistency, and Datastream, a service for database replication. In addition, the Analytics Hub combines data sets and shares data and insights, including dashboards and machine learning models, inside and outside an organisation. 

Deutsche Bank, Equifax, and Loblaw have also adopted Google Cloud’s data cloud solutions. “We have, as we speak, approximately 50 GCP services that we have made available on the landing zones for secure consumption in the native environment on GCP,” said Leukert, head of technology at Deutsche Bank.

Avi Gopani
Avi Gopani is a technology journalist that seeks to analyse industry trends and developments from an interdisciplinary perspective at Analytics India Magazine. Her articles chronicle cultural, political and social stories that are curated with a focus on the evolving technologies of artificial intelligence and data analytics.

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