5 Ways Diane Greene Transformed Google Cloud Business

Diane Greene, the CEO of Google Cloud, announced her plan to transition out by January 2019. Thomas Kurian, an industry veteran with over 20 years of a stint at Oracle would be replacing her.

A section of media and analysts consider the change of top leadership at Google as a sign of company’s inability to gaining the foothold in the market.

While AWS is still leading the pack, Microsoft has cemented Azure’s position as the next best cloud platform. Google Cloud, IBM Cloud, and Alibaba Cloud are fighting for the third slot.

To be fair to Diane, Google became serious with cloud only in 2016. By then, both AWS and Azure had 8+ years of head start. Though it was late to the party, Google Cloud picked up good momentum in the last few years. Customers and partners acknowledge that Google Cloud Platform has technically superior products and services than the competitors.

During the last three years, Google Cloud made significant progress in gaining the market share as well as mindshare, most of which may be directly attributed to Diane’s leadership and guidance. From the massive rebranding exercise of Google Cloud to some of the most significant acquisitions, Diane made her presence felt.

Here are five ways in which Diane Greene has positively influenced the business:

Gaining enterprise wins

Before 2016, Google’s cloud case studies were mostly limited to Spotify, Snapchat and Khan Academy. Though these were large implementations, they cannot be considered as traditional enterprise companies.

After Diane took over the reins, Google Cloud managed to get solid enterprise wins. 20th Century Fox, Colgate, Disney, eBay, HSBC, LATAM Airlines, LG CNS, The Home Depot, The New York Times, Schlumberger, Target and Verizon are some of the key enterprises using Google Cloud.

The most notable win for Google Cloud came from Twitter which has moved large-scale Hadoop clusters to GCP, with a total of about 300 PB of data migrated.

Netflix, a loyal AWS customer, is using Google Cloud Platform for disaster recovery and business continuity.

Google Cloud made impressive progress in establishing itself as an enterprise cloud platform.

Making strategic acquisitions

Under Diane’s leadership, Google Cloud acquired Apigee, API.AI, Qwiklabs, Kaggle, Bitium, Velostrata and Cask.

Google bought Apigee for a whopping $625 million, which emphasized the significance of API-driven economy. With customer brands such as Fujitsu, Walgreens, Telestra and Orange, Apigee had a substantial enterprise footprint that benefited Google Cloud. It instantly gave Google Cloud an entry into the API gateway and management market. Recently, Forrester included Google (Apigee) among the leaders in API management solutions.

Apigee has the potential to play a vital role in emerging trends such as multi-cloud management and edge computing, which are critical for Google’s success.

API.AI has been one of best acquisitions for Google. It helped the company accelerate the launch of Google Assistant and home automation products based on Google Home. Rebranded as Dialogflow, API.AI enabled Google to leverage its assets such as Firebase to compete aggressively with Amazon Alexa. Developers are using Dialogflow to build actions that reach millions of Android and Google Home users.

API.AI acquisition enabled Google to compete effectively with Amazon.

Doubling down on AI

Machine learning and artificial intelligence are secret weapons for Google. Some of the internal tools that Google researchers provided to the engineering teams are made available as cloud services.

From TPUs to ML APIs, Google made tremendous progress in transforming its cloud platform as the preferred destination for developing and deploying intelligent applications.

There are over a dozen ML and AI related services available on GCP that empower developers and data scientists.

Under Diane’s leadership, Google Cloud could successfully position itself as a sophisticated data-driven and AI-centric cloud platform.

Partnering with key ecosystem players

Google was often criticized for lack of ecosystem around its cloud business. Having seen VMware thrive in the enterprise market, Diane signed strategic partnership deals with industry players.

Google, SAP and Deloitte have partnered to bring HANA to GCP, which includes certification of SAP HANA on GCP, new G Suite integrations, and collaboration on building machine learning features into intelligent applications. Google Cloud is now certified to run SAP workloads including SAP S/4HANA, SAP BW/4HANA, SAP Business Suite, SAP Business Warehouse.

Rackspace, the leader in managed services, built a strategic relationship with Google Cloud to become its first managed services support partner. Apart from Rackspace, there are multiple managed services partners responsible for monitoring and managing customer workloads on GCP.

Diane worked closely with Intel to bring state of the art processors to GCP. Google Cloud recently became the first public cloud provider to offer virtual machines using Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory. It was also the first cloud provider to provide Skylake processors in the cloud.

Apart from the above, Google has partnered with Cisco, NetApp, IronMountain and other enterprise companies.

Changing the market perception

Personally, I have noticed a change in the perception of Google Cloud among customers and analysts. Though it may be hard to quantify, GCP definitely enjoys a positive reputation in the market. Under Diane, Google Cloud became a serious contender for running enterprise workloads in the cloud.

In 2018, Google Cloud Platform finally entered Gartner’s Magic Quadrant into leader category in IaaS. There are only three players in the leadership quadrant – Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. This is undoubtedly good news for Google employees and partners.

Google is also considered as a price leader by customers and analysts. It has innovative pricing models such as preemptive VMs and per-second pricing.

Google Cloud made a mark under Diane Greene’s leadership. With Thomas Kurien at the helm, the industry expects to see an increased enterprise push.


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