Google Cloud: Customer centricity critical for future growth

Over the past year, we have seen an evolution in Google Cloud’s strategy.  Building on the company’s strong technology and product foundation, Google Cloud has taken the next step by becoming more customer-centric.  As CEO Thomas Kurian put it in a recent interview, their goal has been to pair their expertise with “empathy for what [their customers] are facing”.  This focus on the customer mirrors the state of the cloud market, which effectively began as a SaaS product back in the early 2000s, to an efficiency play circa 2006, to what is today very much a problem-solving story.  This means offering solutions versus capabilities, requiring the tech giant to rely more on partnerships and acquisitions to help it move up the software stack and navigate market shifts quickly.

There have been numerous acquisitions in the past year which have enhanced Google Cloud’s capabilities across big data, analytics, storage, hosting, and gaming, ultimately expanding the ecosystem of solutions available to their customers.  The acquisitions include:

Exhibit 1:  Recent Google Cloud acquisitions/integrations

Google Cloud Acquisitions 2019
Source: Google Cloud. *Typhoon Studios was acquired by Stadia, Google’s cloud gaming division.

Google Cloud’s customer-centric transformation is being touted as a key factor in recent big wins, and examples below highlight the strategic role the company is enjoying across much of its customer base.  Significant customer wins and partnerships over the past year include:

Exhibit 2:  Customer wins and partnerships

Google Cloud Customer Wins 2019
Source: Google Cloud, customer announcements. *Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance Sector.

The cloud infra and services market will remain hyper-competitive as AWS continues to dominate, and other tech giants ramp up efforts to gain share in a market that is expected to continue double-digit growth through the medium term.  Google Cloud’s strength comes from its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, which allows the ad side of Google’s business to understand consumers like nobody else.  Google Cloud’s ability to translate this strength to the enterprise will be a major factor in gaining market share, requiring not only an expanded team (the company is looking to triple its sales force over the next two years) but maintenance of the core ‘expertise plus empathy’ culture set forth by CEO Kurian during the company’s transformation last year.  In the end, like all transformation stories, success will depend as much on Google Cloud’s people as it does on their products and processes.