Google Cloud Global VP: Why ‘We Are The Future’ Of Cloud For Partners
Google Cloud’s global ecosystem and partner leader, Kevin Ichhpurani, discusses with CRN a new report from IDC that shows how partners are growing their annual Google sales up to 75 percent.
Some of Google Cloud’s largest systems integrators are witnessing upward of 75 percent annual growth in their Google business as well as a nearly 500 percent increase in annual deal volume, according to a new report by IDC.
Google Cloud’s worldwide ecosystem and channel leader, Kevin Ichhpurani, said channel partners are betting heavily on Google versus Microsoft and Amazon Web Services due to its partner strategy of not scaling an internal professional services organization, having an open vendor ecosystem, and Google’s overall partner-led approach around driving business transformation for customers.
“The reality is most customers want to be multi-cloud. We’re enabling them and embracing that as opposed to fighting it,” Ichhpurani said.
“We’re also not trying to scale a services organization,” he added. “We want partners to take the lion’s share of all of the services opportunity. We do not want to scale a large services organization. So we don’t have the channel conflict that exists within other technology companies.”
IDC’s New Google Cloud Study
Some of the key findings inside IDC’s report showed that Google Cloud’s partner-led professional services approach has driven annual revenue growth rates of between 35 percent and 75 percent for these GSIs since 2019. In addition, these systems integrators shared that their growth in adding skilled resources to their Google Cloud practice over the last year has multiplied by 3X to 10X across the board.
“This is just really showing you how partners are doubling down on the Google Cloud practice because they see enormous potential and that we are where the puck is going,” said Ichhpurani, Google’s corporate vice president, global ecosystem and channels.
“That’s why they’re investing ahead of the curve. Because when you think about the kinds of services that you deliver with Google Cloud, you’re fundamentally driving business transformation as opposed to just lifting and shifting VMs [virtual machines],” he said.
In an interview with CRN, Ichhpurani talks about the results of IDC’s study as well why partners are investing in Google Cloud compared with cloud computing rivals such as Microsoft and AWS.
“My biggest message to [Google Cloud partners] is: We are the future and to invest ahead of the curve,” he said. “The most important thing is if you want to capture the opportunity is to invest ahead of the curve.”
Professional services are key to partner profitability. How is Google Cloud different from AWS and Microsoft here?
There are two elements to it. The first one is we want the bulk of professional services to go through the channel.
We are not scaling a large professional services organization. Our professional services organization is largely focusing on, essentially, providing partner success services support. So that is basically safeguarding engagements, but we want the vast majority of the services to go to the channel. That is a big differentiator and a different strategy. The partners view that as a very favorable thing and why they’re investing more.
No. 2: Just the kind of services that you deliver as a Google Cloud partner—relative to our competition—is more strategic in nature.
That’s because you’re really impacting the business’ growth in top line, as well as improvements of bottom line, by helping them improve a business process or rethink the business model of the company. When you’re dealing with the transformation opportunity, the services TAM [total addressable market] is much bigger versus just lifting and shifting a VM, as an example.
Partners see [Google Cloud] is where the puck is going and that’s why they want to invest in it.
IDC’s study said there’s ‘been a major shift from midsize deals to larger, cross-enterprise deals’ that partners are now winning. Why are these Google SIs now winning multimillion-dollar customer deals?
We’re seeing much larger deals with clients that are just making much bigger commitments to Google Cloud. They are fundamentally using Google Cloud as their innovation platform.
The buying patterns have shifted a lot over the last couple of years, which plays to our strengths. Many customers have often purchased Google Cloud on a digital transformation agenda as an innovation platform for their organization. That’s always been our biggest differentiator.
For example, pharmaceutical companies are looking at, ‘How can I optimize my clinical trial process?’ Banks are looking at, ‘How do I create the next-generation digital bank? Or bring efficiencies to anti-money-laundering?’ Telecoms are looking at, ‘How do I do better churn analytics and better target customers with promotions?’ If you look at retailers, they’re very focused in on, ‘How do I leverage Google’s platform to do better hyper personalization?’
So within every industry, there are a set of critical scenarios that customers are using to grow their top line and improve their bottom line, and they’re leveraging these GSIs to really help them with that industry transformation. That’s what’s led to these really large opportunities.
One of the biggest findings from IDC’s study showed that these GSIs are growing their Google Cloud business between 35 percent and 75 percent on average since 2019. Those are big numbers. How are these partners seeing so much revenue growth?
This is just really showing you how partners are doubling down on the Google Cloud practice because they see enormous potential and that we are where the puck is going. That’s why they’re investing ahead of the curve. Because when you think about the kinds of services that you deliver with Google Cloud, you’re fundamentally driving business transformation as opposed to just lifting and shifting VMs.
There’s plenty of just lifting and shifting too, but the real strategic opportunity is: How do you leverage generative AI, analytics and Google as an innovation platform to improve your business process or rethink your business model, etc.? That has a much bigger services TAM for the channel.
Because you’re at the CEO level and you’re dealing with lines of business and with industry scenarios. There is so much bigger of an opportunity when you’re really impacting the business and you’re helping the company grow their top line and improve their bottom line versus just lifting and shifting VMs. It is a much bigger, higher-impact play for the customer. And therefore, a much bigger services opportunity for the channel.
What are some other reasons why Google Cloud GSIs are witnessing upward of 75 percent annual growth?
What’s really resonating with our partners is that, fundamentally, we’re a technology company.
We’re also not trying to scale a services organization. Our services organization is very focused in on partner success. We’re working side-by-side with partners to make sure the deep technical expertise and interlock with engineering is there from Google to help them. We just take a razor-thin portion of the services to ensure a successful customer go-live.
We want partners to take the lion’s share of all of the services opportunity. We do not want to scale a large services organization. So we don’t have the channel conflict that exists within other technology companies. It’s a big differentiator that is helping to create an environment where partners are continuing to double down with us.
Another key to our partner success is our view has always been that the world will be a hybrid, multi-cloud world. We’ve embraced that since the early days with our Anthos strategy, where you can build once and deploy anywhere without changing a single line of code.
You can run analytics at scale. But unlike our competitors, we don’t require you to move all of the data to Google Cloud. We will federate the query wherever the data sits.
IDC’s report says annual deal volume has grown nearly 500 percent for these GSIs. What’s changed in the last three years in terms of your customer base?
The customer base has become larger. The customer base has grown significantly from a geographic mix perspective, our coverage around the globe, our customer mix across all segments, and our customer mix across all industries. So that’s obviously had a very material impact.
The other thing is the number of customers that are increasing their commitments with Google Cloud over time has also been an accelerant to that. In all of those areas, we’ve seen very significant growth.
What you’re finding too with the services partners is that the cloud needs of customers are changing.
Customers are looking for more higher-level services today than just the IaaS [Infrastructure as-a-Service] stack. They’re looking for, ‘How do I leverage data? How do I leverage data and analytics? How do I leverage the PaaS [Platform as-a-Service] stack? How do I leverage generative AI to really drive innovation?’
As more customers are buying with that as the primary driver, that plays to Google’s strength.
In terms of ecosystem, how does Google Cloud differ from other cloud companies?
We have embraced an open ecosystem.
If you look at the open-source players, rather than creating our own distributions, we’ve largely worked with the open-source community to take the market leaders and make them first-class citizens on our platform in the [Google Cloud] Marketplace and allow customers to decrement their commits that they have with us dollar-for-dollar when they buy those solutions.
We’ve taken an approach that is very open and multi-cloud in nature, which is very much resonating with the partners. Because the channel views it the same way: They need to be able to service their customers regardless of what the customer’s preferences are.
The reality is most customers want to be multi-cloud. We’re enabling them and embracing that as opposed to fighting it.
What’s your message to Google Cloud partners?
My biggest message to [Google Cloud partners] is: We are the future and to invest ahead of the curve. The most important thing is if you want to capture the opportunity is to invest ahead of the curve.