This week is Google’s Next conference in San Francisco and all eyes are on Google to gain insights to their direction, activities and plans around cloud. That being said, there are a few specific things I am looking for here at Next.
POSITIONING IN THE CLOUD
As a public cloud provider, Google faces stiff competition from Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure along with a bevy of others. In today’s public cloud marketplace, only the top contenders will take the majority of the spoils. Driving to be a top contender takes focus, a solid understanding of the marketplace, having the right message and going after the right target with the right product mix.
Google does have an uphill climb, but also a pile of resources to leverage. The question will be: Does Google have the right combination of items to secure their place in the public cloud market? Where are they today and what is coming down the road? And possibly more importantly, what is their perspective on the public cloud market and where they fit?
ENGAGING THE ENTERPRISE
Generally speaking, there are two types of customers in the public cloud space: The web-scale/ startups and the enterprise customers. At this point, Amazon AWS has secured their place with the web-scale/ startups. However, a key to securing ones place in the public cloud market is by going after the yet-to-be-tapped, massive enterprise market. And while that may sound straightforward, it is anything but.
The enterprise market is incredibly complicated, yet, highly lucrative. In order for a company to successfully tap into the enterprise market, it needs to navigate a minefield of issues. Two specific items I am looking for at Next include how well Google is ‘speaking the language’ of enterprise and how well they are building relationships. The key here is in their ability to speak the language of enterprise in order to build relationships with enterprises. Initial indications are that they have struggled with this point.
MEETING IN THE MIDDLE
Google is a sophisticated company with incredibly powerful solutions. Those solutions can offer Google a significant advantage over competing solutions. However, without addressing the challenges outlined above, those very solutions could end up with a limited number of customers.
The enterprise must be key to Google’s strategy moving forward. In order to secure their place, they will need to demonstrate they can meet somewhere in the middle between where they are and where the enterprise currently sits.