Watch out, AWS and Azure; Google Cloud plans to compete more aggressively

Google Cloud plans to win enterprise customers from six verticals. (Getty Images)

Thomas Kurian just took over as CEO of Google Cloud on Feb. 1, and today he laid out a pretty well-organized and specific vision of his immediate priorities. Speaking at the Goldman Sachs 2019 Technology and Internet Conference, Kurian said Google Cloud will beef up its sales force and focus on six industries and 15 countries.

Kurian left Oracle as its president of product development in October. He’d been with Oracle for 22 years. Shortly thereafter, he was named as the new CEO of Google Cloud to replace Diane Greene, who got the business off the ground for its first three years.

During the Goldman Sachs presentation, which was his debut presentation as CEO, Kurian didn’t itemize the six industries and 15 locations that Google Cloud would be focusing on. But he said Google has an extremely strong presence in internet companies and social media companies that grew up with cloud-native architectures. Now, Google has shifted its focus to also go after more traditional enterprises.  

He said, “We’re going to significantly expand our sales distribution capabilities, and we’re also expanding a number of channel partners we have to get broader reach.” He added that Google Cloud would focus its go-to-market efforts on “going after some of the largest customers on earth.” The company is training its sales people to talk to specific industries in the language of those industries. “You’ll see us competing much more aggressively as we go forward,” he said.

Although Google doesn’t break out its cloud revenues, much to the frustration of analysts who want to compare its revenues to those of the other big cloud providers, Kurian said the cloud business increased its sales by almost four times in the last three years. Synergy Research puts Google Cloud’s market share in third place after Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

During parent company Alphabet’s fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call recently, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said that during 2018 the company more than doubled both the number of Google Cloud deals over $1 million as well as the number of multiyear contracts signed.

RELATED: Google Cloud sees uptick in deals greater than $100M

Kurian said Google Cloud has very low churn. “One of the great advantages we have is that our customers are extremely loyal to us,” he said. “We are able, once we attract a customer, to not just land an account but to expand.” The company is building out a capability called Customers for Life. It will track the customers, help them to onboard to Google Cloud, get them to put their first workload on the cloud, derive business value, and then convert them into advocacy.

The company delineates its cloud offerings into five buckets:

  • Infrastructure modernization
  • Management of data
  • Application building
  • Smart analytics
  • Employee productivity