How can Google Cloud Win in the Enterprise ?

Last week was packed with exciting announcements from Google Cloud targeted to increase its presence in the enterprise. From exciting technologies in areas such as machine learning or security to great customer announcements with top brand like Apple, Home Depot, Disney, Macy’s or Spotify, Google Cloud made it clear that they are serious about the enterprise.

Despite the recent excitement, Google Cloud has a difficult path ahead to become a dominant platform in the enterprise. Currently Google Cloud is still a distant number 4 player in the enterprise cloud space beyond AWS, Azure and IBM Bluemix. However, under Diane Green’s new leadership, Google Cloud is starting to made serious inroads to appeal to enterprise customers. From that perspective, I believe there are 4 clear points that can make Google Cloud a top enterprise cloud platform:

  1. A Clear Message: A Cloud at Google Scale
  2. Bridging the Gap
  3. Out Innovating Competitors in New Areas
  4. Capitalizing in Unique Distribution Models

A Clear Message: A Cloud for Google’s Scale

Last week we finally heard a consistent message for all Google Cloud services: faster, simpler and able to operate at Google’s scale. This is Google playing to their strengths. The same way Azure’s identity is about Microsoft’s understanding of enterprise scenarios or Bluemix’s is strong in regulated industries due to IBM’s penetration in those markets, Google Cloud is relying on core elements of Google’s DNA: speed, simplicity and scalability.

Bridging the Gap

In order to become a dominant enterprise cloud platform, Google Cloud needs to breach gaps with AWS, Azure and Bluemix in some very specific areas. The list below includes some of the that should be included Google Cloud to be able to compete more aggressively with the lead enterprise PaaS solutions.

  • Machine Learning: Machine learning will be a key area of differentiation between the different enterprise cloud platform. Even though last week Google announced the released of a machine learning service, the release still seems in very early stage compared to more mature solutions like Azure ML or AWS ML.
  • Integration Services: System integration is another capability missing in the Google Cloud stack. While the Google Data Flow platform is starting to ecome relevant in the data processing and integration space, there is no equivalent solution for services and systems integration. This contrasts with technologies like Azure Logic Apps or IBM’s CastIron Live which provide really sophisticated integration capabilities.
  • IOT Services: Another one of the trends that driving the next generation of enterprise software solutions and that is currently missing in Google Cloud’s stack. Internet of Things (IOT) services are an essential element to power industrial solutions in the enterprise. Today, technologies like Azure IOT Suite, AWS IOT Hub and IBM’s IOT Foundation are leading the charge in the enterprise.
  • Cognitive Computing: Last week Google announced the release of its Vision and Speech APIs as part of Google Cloud’s machine learning stack. However, these capabilities still seem relatively limited compared to stacks such as IBM’s Watson Developer Cloud or Amazon’s Echo.
  • Identity Management and Federation: Security and identity management are another aspect that requires some work on Google Cloud’s stack. Currently, Google Cloud’s identity services seemed really limited compared to solutions like Azure Active Directory or AWS IAM.
  • Apps Cloud: One of Gartner’s new favorite categories, the application platform as a service (aPaaS) capabilities Google Cloud can use some extra work. Despite some remarkable progress in areas such as container management, I believe Google Cloud can benefit from more robust cloud application lifecycle management capabilities.

Out Innovating Competitors in New Areas

In addition to bridging the gap with competitors in some of the areas listed above, we can expect Google Cloud to start out-innovating competitors in new areas. Without speculating about a specific directions, some of the following areas

  1. Advanced cognitive computing: Expect Google Cloud to compete aggressively in the cognitive computing space. Capabilities such as Google’s Deep Mind seems like a great asset in this space.
  2. High compute services: Just like Big Query, Google Cloud is uniquely positioned to deliver services that abstract high compute tasks via simple interfaces.
  3. Intelligent Enterprise Search: I guess there is no need to explain why Google Cloud can dominate this area.
  4. Docker lifecycle management services: Kubernetes has become a must have technology in Docker solutions. I believe Google Cloud will continue innovating in services related to the management of containerized solutions.
  5. VR Services: Similar to mobile or IOT, we can fully expect PaaS infrastructure to provide services to simplify the implementation of virtual or augmented reality applications. As the main driver behind Android, Google is uniquely positioned to deliver a great experience in this area.

Capitalizing on Unique Distribution Models

In addition to delivering unique capabilities, Google Cloud should start expanding its distribution models using some of the unique strengths of the Google brand. Below are some of the segments that I think can improve Google Cloud’s distribution model in a unique way.

  1. Business Applications: Taking a page from the Office365 playbook. In just a few years, Google built Google Apps from a concept to a very impressive business. Attaching Google Cloud to some of its business applications will create a very strong distribution channel which is prohibited to other PaaS providers.
  2. Developer Community: Google is beloved by developers all over the world. Leveraging developers in existing Google communities such as Android can become a unique distribution channel for Google Cloud.
  3. Android Enterprise Services: Distributing Google Cloud with Android enterprise solutions in areas such as device management, testing, security or analytics could represent another powerful distribution channel for Google Cloud.
  4. Medium Businesses: Google has a long history of servicing medium businesses and that can become a strong asset for Google Cloud. While competing with Azure, AWS and IBM in big enterprise markets, Google Cloud can also leveraged its unique footprint within medium businesses.

CEO of IntoTheBlock, Chief Scientist at Invector Labs, I write The Sequence Newsletter, Guest lecturer at Columbia University, Angel Investor, Author, Speaker.

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