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The ‘Secret Sauce’ Behind Cognizant’s New Google Business Group

The new group comes with joint goals, targets and investments with Google Cloud, according to Sanjiv Gossain, global head of Cognizant’s Google Cloud Business Group and the Teaneck, N.J.-based company’s head of artificial intelligence.

Professional services company Cognizant has created a dedicated Google Business Group, fortified by more than 1,500 certified Google engineers, to help customers on their cloud modernization journeys.

The new group comes with joint goals, targets and investments with Google Cloud, according to Sanjiv Gossain, global head of Cognizant’s Google Cloud Business Group and the Teaneck, N.J.-based company’s head of artificial intelligence (AI).

“We’re creating dedicated people on a go-to-market (basis) in certain key areas,” said Gossain (pictured above). “We are investing in creating tools and accelerators and hardening those on Google Cloud. It’s much more of a commitment than just sort of working together. We’re super excited and proud to partner with Google on this, because they really are growing rapidly. And they have a great, differentiated approach to cloud, which is really going to help enterprises as they take this beyond infrastructure to…the whole enterprise and business process.”

Cognizant is a Google Cloud Premier Partner with specializations in cloud migration, infrastructure and data management, with others in the works.

Google Cloud, the industry’s third largest cloud computing provider, is looking for services partners that can help customers improve or completely rethink their businesses processes, according to Kevin Ichhpurani, corporate vice president of Google Cloud’s global ecosystem. Cognizant brings unique services around data and analytics, industry domain strengths, expertise in complete application modernization and an ability to do large global deployments, he said.

“More of the cloud decisions are happening now in the line of business on how can you use cloud as an innovation platform to rethink the business process,” Ichhpurani told CRN. “One of the things that we find particularly alluring in the relationship with Cognizant is…you need deep expertise in data and AI to infuse more intelligence into the actual business process. Then…you have to take your existing applications that were maybe built long ago and actually redesign those applications. Companies want to make them more agile by containerizing them, microservice-enabling them and putting more intelligence in. Those are all core strengths of Cognizant that they’re bringing to the table. And this has got to be done at an industry level: You need deep industry expertise to understand those business processes and how to rethink them, because it varies from banking to telecom to manufacturing. That’s really where we see the secret sauce of this relationship.”

Under their new extended partnership, Cognizant and Google Cloud will collaborate on new industry solutions for vertical markets including retail and consumer goods, life sciences, healthcare and financial services.

Cognizant, which also is an Amazon Web Services Premier Consulting Partner, Microsoft Gold Partner and Azure Expert MSP, already had established dedicated AWS and Microsoft business groups last July.

Its customers are choosing Google Cloud for its multi-cloud focus and its data and AI strengths, according to Gossain.

“They realize that they want to work in that environment,” he said. “Google has particular strengths in data and AI. We think that’s a great, great strength that we can do together. Also, in the application space — as it’s much more moving to business and digital transformation at an enterprise level, rather than just an infrastructure level — that’s also quite strong from Google with the multi-cloud Anthos product suite. We’re seeing some good traction across all industries, but certainly in banking and retail and in the telecom space.”

While the Cognizant-Google Cloud partnership will have a global reach, Cognizant sees North America, the United Kingdom, parts of Asia and Europe’s DACH region of Austria, Germany and Switzerland as having particularly fast-growing opportunities.

Google Cloud sees many benefits when partners set up dedicated business units, according to Ichhpurani, including their ability to scale faster.

“We can work with one business unit to look at how do we solve a specific problem in financial services that our customers are bringing to us — from the ideation to actually creating a prototype, to going and testing it with customers, to actually productizing that offering and taking it to market all under one roof -- and things just fundamentally happen much faster,” he said. “And we have a single point of accountability across the business end to end, as opposed to it being diffused. Standing up a dedicated business unit that’s 100 percent-focused shows a different level of investment, a different level of commitment, which is what customers are looking for, and that’s why we see the acceleration.”

For Cognizant, it’s also about establishing those close, important partnerships with its Google Cloud colleagues in the field.

“At the end of the day, that’s what clients want to see,” Gossain said. “Clients want us to show up together, standing in front of them -- we’re dedicated to Google Cloud, they’re dedicated to us in terms of that opportunity -- and that we’re partnering well together. That gives confidence for the client.”

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