Thomas Kurian and the Future of Google Cloud

GettyImages-872649056With the departure of Diane Greene as CEO of Google Cloud, a lot of people in the cloud industry are asking, "What is next for Google and how does Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian drive it?" First, let's talk about Google's place among the hyperscale public clouds. Contrary to some industry observers, ESG research has found that 81% of companies are using two or more public cloud providers and 51% are using three or more. Even more important, our research has found that 97% of companies expect that number to increase or stay the same in three years.

What this all means is that the public cloud market is not consolidating down to one or two major vendors and the opportunity is there for Google Cloud in the marketplace. That being said, as public cloud use increases, we will see the market shift from simply grabbing the greenfield of cloud users to one that is increasingly competitive. Google is certainly looking at the challenges of going up against AWS, with its VMware partnership, and Microsoft Azure and the associated services, as well as others such as IBM and Oracle.

I believe that Diane did a very good job, building up the products and personnel needed for Google Cloud to compete in this increasingly competitive marketplace. Another key achievement for Diane was landing partnerships and a partner program that Google Cloud needs to penetrate enterprise accounts that it doesn't normally have access to with its consumer products.

But what direction will Google Cloud need to go in with Thomas Kurian as CEO? In this case, it's about the execution of working with enterprise accounts and that's where Kurian shines based on his work at Oracle. I expect Google Cloud to do the following:

  • Work to sharpen its product and services positioning to focus on solutions and business value, not just features and capabilities. Enterprise customers need to know how Google Cloud will help their business, along with the technical or engineering details.
  • Appeal to enterprise IT about why they should move their core business applications into Google Cloud as a whole, not just the databases or front-end systems. This is where Kurian can shine, as he knows these customers and these applications.
  • Build deeper partnerships with the remaining, unaligned players in the industry. This is critical as the VMware partnership for AWS, the acquisitions by Microsoft, and the purchase of Red Hat by IBM are all not only putting pressure on Google but also removing those companies from the list of potential partners with Google Cloud.

I'm often asked where I see Google Cloud in the next couple years and I see it becoming a major player in the public cloud space, as it has unique technologies that set it apart from the other players. The key to success for Google is executing on selling those technologies to all users but especially to enterprise customers.

Topics: Cloud Platforms & Services