An opinion piece by Aric Bandy.
Google is the world's biggest cloud provider.
They have 7 products with 1 billion+ users (YouTube, Android, Gmail, Google Play, Search, Maps, and Chrome). Google spends $10B every year on infrastructure alone. Yet with all this capability, why do Fortune 500 customers continue to run their own data centers or go to online retailers (Amazon) infrastructure?
Google has done a terrible job of explaining their capabilities to the market.
In November 2015, Google hired Diane Greene, formerly the CEO of VMware, as Senior Vice President of Google’s Enterprise Business shortly after the acquisition of her previous startup, Bebop. Instead of being “Googly,” she’s picked a fight with Microsoft and Amazon.
A fight I believe she can win.
Since Greene was acqui-hired, there’s been a timeline of events that serves as an indication of Google’s intent. But what is Greene doing that wasn’t done before?
What Greene Has Done
The most refreshing thing about Diane Greene is that she’s a woman of action. When I met with her a short time ago, she outlined a plan to evolve Google for Work and win in the enterprise space.
Diane Greene is keeping her word so far:
November 2015 – Google buys Bebop, Greene’s start-up company, dishing out $380 million to close the deal. Word on the street is that following the acquisition, Bebop will continue to work on developing and maintaining enterprise applications.
February 2016 – Google announces it will be building its first engineering team devoted to Southeast Asia. To kick-start the venture, Google buys Pie, a communications service based in Singapore.
March 2016 – Google acquires Synergyse, an interactive training service for Google Apps for Work. The Toronto based company, launched by a former group of Google employees, has trained over 4 million people in 3,000 different organizations.
August 2016 – Google acquires Orbitera, a startup that developed a platform for buying and selling cloud-based software. The $100M sale is agreed upon to help Google improve how it competes with Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure in the cloud.
August 2016 – Google announces partnership with Okta, an identity management vendor, to provide a more unified IdM solution for Google Collaboration tools.
September 2016 – Apigee is purchased by Google for roughly $625M. The API software acts as a channel between companies and their customers and partners.
September 2016 – Box partners with Google to integrate Google’s suite of productivity tools, Google Docs with Box.
In total, this equates to about $1.1B in acquisitions just to evolve the Google enterprise offering.
Why She Did It
Prior to Greene stepping in, Google hasn’t had what I would call “enterprise acumen.” This isn’t to say that Google hasn’t won big customers, Agosto alongside of Google has won some of Google’s biggest Fortune 500 customers.
However, the Google for Work team wasn’t aligned to fully capitalize on the opportunity. Google owns the SMB and online market, but to win Fortune 500 in a big way, Greene had to align product teams, service teams and sales teams. Before Greene, Google for Work sales and marketing teams were not able to steer the product roadmap. Greene now has engineering and product teams aligned with the sales teams.
The Power of Partnering
Google doesn’t have the luxury of time.
According to BetterCloud, 62% of all organizations will run 100% of their IT in the cloud by 2022. The customer landgrab is happening now and Microsoft and Amazon are both aggressive in their pursuit. Greene’s only option is to acquire and partner to compete. Google has the cash, $72B to be exact, and Greene appears to have ability to leverage it.
Apigee and Orbitera acquisitions addresses gaps in Google’s offering while bringing Google upwards of 60,000 enterprise stacks to the platform.
The partnerships with Okta and Box extend Google’s products with proven enterprise products which are widely adopted by Fortune 500 customers.
Greene is showing her willingness and ability to evolve Google for Work into a serious enterprise competitor.
While some might suggest that Greene’s moves are not always the most “Googly,” they are the most prudent. Google can be THE dominant player in the enterprise public cloud.
They have the technology. They have the cash. The market is there.
All they needed was a leader to make it happen. With Greene, I believe they have that leader. Google is well on its way to beat Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure. Google Enterprise 2.0 is going to be big.