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Thomas Kurian: Why Google Cloud Bests AWS, Azure In The Channel

CEO Thomas Kurian talks to CRN about why channel partners should place their bets on Google Cloud versus the cloud competition along with his goal of attaching partners to 100 percent of customer engagements.

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Google Cloud has invested heavily in both the partner network and the direct sales force. Are you getting the sales at bats to really be successful versus Microsoft and AWS to increase your market share? Or do you still need more partners to get to the table each time there’s a cloud spending decision where Microsoft and AWS might be considered first versus Google Cloud?

First of all, if you look at our position relative to where we were in just two-and-a-half years ago when I took over the business, it’s night and day.

I mean, we are way bigger now than we were. Everybody has our public revenue numbers. The revenue comes from customers choosing to use cloud. We’ve also disclosed at the end of our fourth quarter, that our backlog of signed non-canceled contracts is $50 billion-plus. So that’s a very large number.

And all those contracts that have been booked also bring partners in, because partners need to drive the commitment that the customer has given us and that contract backlog needs to be consumed by workload migration, analytics, cybersecurity, [etc.] So there’s a huge opportunity for partners.

Our goal is to make sure that we make it super easy for partners to be able to reach our customers. Second, we made it very easy for partners to collaborate with the Google salesforce so that they can serve clients together. There’s a lot of things we’ve done with our sales organization to make sure that partners are seen as really complementary to us.

The third thing we’ve done is to deeply integrate with certain independent software vendors. Like the work that we’ve done with some of the leading software vendors to really optimize their stack on top of Google Cloud also helps customers say, ‘This application really runs amazingly well on Google.’ And we’ve really done a lot of engineering work as well.

An example is what we’ve done with VMware. People find that when running VMware workloads on Google Cloud they get performance, reliability, failover—all of the things that they want.

Our commitment is: build the customer base, bring that customer base to the partner ecosystem, commit to being partner-friendly with a goal to be 100 percent attach; specialize the partner ecosystem so they have deep skills in different areas; and introduce the partners with our sales organization to customers by eliminating friction of any kind between the partners and customers. So that’s been a lot of focus these last two and a half years. I think we’re starting to see the results of it, and we’re very encouraged with the progress we’re seeing.

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