At GCP NEXT, we learned about hidden stories that partners provide to the Google Cloud Platform. Given Google's renowned direct-to-consumer experience, some enterprises are naturally thinking of engaging directly with Google if they choose to use their cloud platform. But the real value, as Google said, it to meet customers where they are, as opposed to asking them to step into Google way of doing things.
Although nothing prevents an enterprise from exploiting the GCP capabilities directly, it makes sense to use partners who have industry expertise as well as knowledge of how to use GCP capabilities.
At the event, we saw presentations by partners like Avera, PwC, Bitnami and Fastly. Through Google, they are ramping up staff support with vertical industry knowledge and expanding their efforts to train partners (effectively "training the trainers"). Partners can thus enable Google to meet customers (by being their proxy) within the customers' context.
For example, Avere creates a hybrid cloud platform that spans on-premises storage and compute with Google's cloud platform with appropriate wide area network (WAN) caching. Stitching that together in a DIY manner may be painful for most enterprises, so it may make sense to let a partner figure it out.
My takeaway? Unless an enterprise has the scale and deep expertise to understand GCP on their own, leveraging a partner is a path of least resistance and getting time to value. Whether it's app development or accelerating access to media like a CDN (content delivery network), partners have deep knowledge of the platform that can be translated to meet enterprise requirements. I expect this area to gather more focus from Google in the months to come.