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Google Partners Like What They're Seeing From Cloud Chief Diane Greene So Far

Diane Greene, the VMware co-founder and former CEO who's now leading Google's cloud business, has won several fans in the channel by focusing the company's attention on partners and customers.

Many Google partners were intrigued when VMware co-founder and former CEO Diane Greene joined the company last November to lead its cloud businesses. Now that they've had a good look at Greene's blueprint for turning Google into an enterprise cloud powerhouse, some partners are downright thrilled.
"Google has taken a huge step towards supporting enterprise partners that need a wide variety of services," said Tim Wagner, president of the commercial business unit at DMI, a Bethesda, Md.-based Google partner.
Greene, senior vice president of Google's enterprise business, made her first public appearance as a Google employee last week at the Google Cloud Platform conference in San Francisco. She said Google, which is trailing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure in the public cloud, is now "dead serious" about courting enterprise customers.
Google revealed at the conference that Home Depot, Disney and Coca-Cola have all signed up as GCP customers. Spotify signed up last month, while for iCloud storage, CRN reported earlier this month.
Google recognizes that it will need well-trained partners to help it get further into the enterprise market, and has formed a professional services group that works with customers and gathers feedback, Greene said at a news conference at the event. Google solutions engineers also work with customers, she said.
While professional services is sometimes a form of competition for the channel, Greene was quick to note that Google's team is more about making sure customers get the right technology than it is about generating revenue.
"We mostly view our professional services as a mechanism for getting customer feedback and enabling partners," Greene said at the event. "We're not planning to make money with professional services, it's really a vehicle for building solutions and training partners and customers."
Google partners told CRN they're encouraged by the channel- and customer-focused approach Greene is taking, especially since it's the same model that helped VMware and its partners dominate the data center with server virtualization technology.
Rajesh Abhyankar, CEO at MediaAgility, a New York-based Google partner, said he's impressed with the level of attention Greene is paying to the channel for both GCP and Google For Work -- the product family that includes Google Docs, Gmail and Drive.
"We are part of the central strategy of going to market with these technologies," Abhyankar said. "Diane is bringing partners to the forefront, supporting us and having our back when we're trying to solve problems for customers.

While Greene has Google partners excited about GCP, she'll be hard-pressed to make a dent in the gigantic lead that AWS and Microsoft have in the public cloud space.
According to Synergy Research, AWS has 31 percent of the cloud infrastructure market, compared to 9 percent for Microsoft. Google -- with 4 percent of the market -- is actually the fourth place player after IBM SoftLayer, which has 7 percent of the market, according to Synergy Research.
AWS made $7.9 billion in revenue during 2015, while Google Cloud Platform did around $500 million, according to figures from Morgan Stanley.
At the conference, Greene pointed to Google's data center expansion plans as a sign of its commitment to catching up with cloud rivals. Google has four cloud regions worldwide -- compared with 12 for AWS -- but is preparing to open new regions this year in Oregon and Japan, Bloomberg reported in late March.
By the end of 2017, Google is planning to build or lease facilities in in additional 10 regions worldwide, according to Bloomberg.
Mat Ellis, CEO of Cloudability, a Portland, Ore.-based firm that works closely with Google's cloud team, is impressed with Greene's leadership thus far and believes that it'll help convince other enterprises to jump on board.
"She has said from Day 1 that she's serious about building a really big cloud business at Google," Ellis said. "At last, we may have an enterprise-grade mentality to go with Google's enterprise-grade technology."
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