COVID-19 as an accelerator
In his Google Cloud NEXT London keynote, CEO Thomas Kurian welcomed the work from partners who have helped their customers respond to the sudden need to rapidly implement new infrastructures and solutions.
"Our mission is to help accelerate every organisation's ability to digitally transform through data-powered innovation," he said.
"The COVID pandemic has accelerated the shift to digital that was already underway in every industry. Consumer expectations are changing."
He added: "More recently in EMEA, we've been touched by the ways that you have worked so heroically through this pandemic."
Kurian said that Google Cloud and its partners should continue the momentum in enabling customers to "reimagine their business models to build for a new normal".
To help drive this, president of EMEA Chris Ciauri said that the hyperscaler will be on an investment drive in the region in sales support and a data-driven marketing strategy revamp.
"Cloud-based technology has increased the competitiveness of most industries," he said.
"But in the markets flooded with alternatives and growing customer expectation, if you want to maintain a consistent competitive edge, technology alone is not enough...We will support you with getting intelligence from your data."
Both Ciauri and Kurian praised partners for helping the US giant continue to log robust growth.
In February, Google revealed its cloud revenue breakdown for the first time, within parent company Alphabet's financial reports.
Google said its cloud business logged $2.6bn in sales in Q4.
Kurian claims that partners have helped Google Cloud to maintain strong growth throughout national lockdowns.
Keep up to date with ‘the new normal'
Kurian welcomed the increase in Google Cloud's video conferencing and G-suite collaboration tools, but stressed the importance of partners keeping up to date with the changes in work from home setups.
For Kurian, the issue is not just about compliance but an opportunity to reach new customers.
"Governments are changing regulatory requirements including delivery of healthcare via telemedicine. And organisations are challenged with cost pressures on traditional IT budgets. As a result, executive teams in many organisations are looking for new technological solutions to recover and prepare for a new future."
Kurian also reiterated to EMEA partners how Google Cloud structures its go to market offerings in a three-pronged approach: industry-specific digital transformation solution, a digital transformation platform and distributed infrastructure as a service.
Within each strand, EMEA president Chris Ciauri said that rapid changes to end-user business models will continue unabated beyond the pandemic.
"The volume of data created over the next three years will be greater than the last 30 years combined," he said. "Storage is getting cheaper so we can capture all that data. But this doesn't matter very much unless we have the ability to make sense of it.
"If we can derive that intelligence from the data, there are two areas where we can make a real impact on businesses. The first is in helping business leaders make the right decisions. And the second is in using the data to automate and personalise new products and services.
"We want to help you innovate for a more digital future."
Addressing European concerns around data sovereignty
Finally, Kurian addressed some of the criticism levelled at US hyperscaler giants by European customers - that their data is not sovereign or reversible.
It's a criticism that has been amplified by recent European efforts to break US and Chinese cloud hegemony in Europe, with the creation of a new legal entity named the GAIA-X project.
One of its founders, OVHcloud CEO Michel Paulin, recently told CRN's sister title CPI, the consortium intends to have solutions to put to the market to challenge AWS, GCP and Azure by the end of this year.
Kurian insisted Google Cloud is sensitive to sovereignty concerns and will be implementing changes.
"As public cloud becomes an increasingly critical part of the technology infrastructure of countries, we're also introducing a number of key capabilities to meet the sovereign cloud requirements of different countries."
Kurian said that key among these changes is an introduction of new security capabilities.
"We introduced a new Confidential Computing portfolio. It allows a customer to run workloads in Google Cloud and to ensure that data is encrypted all the time - at rest, in transit an even while it's being processed.
"Secondly, we've introduced a number of solutions to protect and give you threat visibility for intrusion monitoring."
In an extra appeal to European partners and end-users, Kurian added:
"We recognise that your data is your data and no one else's. When you move data into our cloud, your use of G-Suite and Google Cloud Platform continues to meet GDPR standards."
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