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New Google Cloud Team ‘Voice Of The Partner’ In Direct Sales Org

Tech industry vet Jim Anderson is leading the newly assembled North American team.

Google Cloud has assembled a new North American partner-facing team within its direct sales organization that’s dedicated to bringing partners into more and high-value customer deals.

The new team will be the “voice of the partner” within Google Cloud’s sales organization, according to Jim Anderson, who’s leading the group as managing director of North American partner ecosystem and channels. His newly created role comes as Google Cloud this month said it was combining its ecosystem and channel sales teams into a single partner organization to streamline its go-to-market efforts.

“Our goal is to make it easier for partners to engage with us and to create a more predictable experience for our partners,” Anderson said via email. “Our team will interface directly with our channel and with our own sales organization in North America to proactively identify opportunities to bring partners into deals. We are particularly focused on bringing partners into longer-term, high-value services projects with customers, where we know partners can leverage our technology to drive business impact.“

Google Cloud wants to ensure its field sales teams are aligned with the channel, and Anderson’s team will serve as that “connective tissue” in North America, according to a Google Cloud spokesperson. The changes represent a consolidation of Google Cloud sales reps, many already working directly with partners, into a single, organized partner-facing team to make it easier for partners to interact with the cloud provider. While the team primarily will work with channel partners, independent software vendors also will be included. Google Cloud expects to add similar dedicated teams for other geographic regions in the coming year.

Anderson, who formerly led Google Cloud sales for the U.S. southeast region, joined the cloud provider in 2018 after serving as vice president and general manager for cloud service providers at Hewlett Packard Enterprise. He is a member of the go-to-market advisory board for CapitalG — Alphabet’s independent growth fund — and is a veteran of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, Cisco, Dell, HP and Accenture.

Anderson is reporting to Kirsten Kliphouse, Google Cloud’s president of North America sales, who reports to global sales president Rob Enslin. Under Enslin are sales reps — separate from Anderson’s North American partner team — that report to regional sales leads. Those reps will work with Anderson’s team to help pitch to customers and bring in partners on deals, the Google Cloud spokesperson said.

Google Cloud partners have a unique opportunity to add value for customers, particularly in areas such as implementation and managed services, Anderson said.

“We recently announced that we’re doubling our spend on partners in the next few years, but we’re also investing in resources, support and personnel within Google Cloud to work alongside our partners,” he said. “That’s precisely the goal of our team — to work hand-in-hand with partners as we go to market and drive customer value across all customer segments.”

‘Natural Progression’

Anderson’s team is among several recently announced changes by Google Cloud to help drive more partner business. This month, Google Cloud also said it was doubling spending on partners, including partner incentives. It’s combined ecosystem and channel sales organization is being led by Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president of global ecosystem and channels. Ichhpurani also has been tapped as Google Cloud’s new channel chief in place of Carolee Gearhart, who’s leaving Google Cloud to work for a startup.

The changes are a “natural progression” for Google Cloud based on the scale at which it’s been growing, according to Deloitte Consulting’s Tom Galizia. Google Cloud is “relentlessly focused” on its large backlog of business, he said.

In its most recent earnings report last October, Alphabet said it had a backlog of $37.1 billion in future customer contract commitments primarily related to Google Cloud.

“When they look at that backlog, and they look at the required services to deliver against that backlog, it’s a pretty big number of people that you need — both internally for themselves, but more importantly from their partner community,” said Galizia, global chief commercial officer for the Alphabet/Google practice at Deloitte, a Google Cloud Premier Partner. “(Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has) really transformed the way they’re thinking about enterprise, and he’s very focused on matching supply demand curves. And so when he looks at the numbers that are out there, he sees very big opportunity for Google Cloud, and he wants to make sure that they can deliver on the opportunity.”

Faiz Khan, founder and CEO of Wanclouds, hopes the Google Cloud changes will lead to more prospects for newer and smaller partners such as the Santa Clara, Calif.-based multi-cloud SaaS and managed service provider.

Wanclouds is working on driving more business with Google Cloud through its VPC+ SaaS application for multi-cloud migrations and disaster recovery, but has found the integration with the Google Cloud Marketplace a bit challenging as a small partner, according to Khan.

“What we understood was they were more focused on very large system integrators,” he said. “That’s one area which I’m hoping improves. A lot of innovation can be brought up by smaller partners and companies into Google and drive their adoption and consumption.”

The company also has not found Google Cloud to be proactive in bringing Wanclouds, as a managed service provider, into deals.

“More or less…we are doing our own set of work,” Khan said. “Maybe because they’re still kind of building their partner organization, etc., they may be prioritizing bigger companies than smaller ones. So we’re hoping that as they beef up the organization, that smaller companies can also become one of their focus areas where they can help bring business and customers to them.”

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