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Greene Speeds Up Google's Cloud Expansion- In Race with Amazon - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An office building inside the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, in February

An office building inside the Googleplex headquarters in Mountain View, California, in February

Diance Greene, Google’s new cloud chief, in an uncommon message at an internal sales meeting this month in Las Vegas stated to the employees that they weren’t taking corporate customers seriously enough and needed to sell harder, be hungrier and less complacent.

Which infact is disquieting news for employees, because typically it looks up to technology over sales and marketing, although it was a necessary one. Ranking 3rd in cloud computing, Google is an increasingly popular way for companies to run their IT operations. That’s a $20 billion-a-year business forecast to grow 35 percent over the next year, according to Gartner Inc.

In order to reach this ranking, the Alphabet Inc. subsidiary will immensely grow its network of data centers, a step that fits with Google’s trend to rely on technological solutions to face challenges.

Nevertheless, considering that Greene is also embracing schemes and strategies that fall beyond Google’s normal playbook, the company is working on tools that can extend its corporate user base to comprise less technically savvy customers, and it’s embarked on a hiring spree specifically aimed at selling and explaining these new products.

Noting that he’s as well on Alphabet’s board, Greene stated that there were some really good vision in place and that now he’s just bringing everybody together so that they all know what they are up-to. He added, “The cloud is a revolution, I mean it’s rivaling the industrial revolution, and it’s pretty fun being this involved.”

Once Google invented the cloud to serve its own uses, back in the late 90’s and early 2000, google left Amazon.com and then focused to develop the idea into a service that other companies could rent. That became Amazon Web Services, a division which made almost $8 billion in sales in 2015, making it top cloud dog ahead of Microsoft and Google, which pulled in $500 million last year, according to Morgan Stanley.

In November, Google hired Greene to change that. She’s a Silicon Valley legend who co-founded VMware Inc. in 1998 to bring a technology called virtualization into the data centers of most large companies. Virtualization allows a single computer server do the job of many, a valuable capability that made Amazon Web Services possible. When she was dismissed from her post in 2008 after falling out with VMware’s board, the company lost almost a quarter of its value in just one day.

Only few months split Google from launching its two new cloud regions, Google-speak for data centers stuffed with computers and software that customers can rent over the Internet in both Oregon and Japan. While another ten are coming over the next 12 to 18 months, either as facilities leased from other providers, or built and operated by Google.

“We know what the recipe is,” said Urs Holzle, Greene’s new technical consigliore who has run Google’s infrastructure for over a decade. “Let’s go apply it everywhere.”

Today Google has three regions, and by quintupling its digital grasp, the company can offer services for more businesses in a shorter time while conforming to local regulations, many of which request that certain types of data never leave a country. Amazon operates 12 regions today, with a further five planned.

Moreover Greene is also altering the way Google sells and markets. And working more closely and lively on ground, where she’s hiring across the board and demanding staff work more thoroughly together and talk to customers more often. Her strategy also includes creating a team that meets with enterprise customers to ensure Google is building what they need.

Although that’s normal for traditional enterprise companies like Salesforce.com and Oracle, however it is a new phase for Google which specializes in self-service Web offerings. The West coast cloud sales team doubled to almost 50 people over the last few months, while the Google Apps team that works with independent IT vendors like startup Avere has grown substantially, say people familiar with the company.

Google is also spending more on marketing to compete against enterprise-focused rivals like Microsoft. Google’s pioneering, Web-based suite of work apps now trails Microsoft Office365 in revenue, Forrester Research estimates. “We have, like, the best office productivity suite, but people don’t know it,” said Greene, who is hiring a chief marketing officer. Google is splashing out on billboards around San Francisco ahead of a conference this week for cloud customers.

Greene is an avid sailor and moors a trimaran in San Francisco. An all-woman round-the-world crew recently asked for sponsorship, but she’s so far resisted the urge to pitch Google cloud products from the bows of expensive yachts like Oracle’s Larry Ellison. “I’m quite happy to go sailing without having the Google boat,” Greene said.

Still, extra investment in sales and marketing is good news for Google’s partners, which can sell more if customers become familiar with Google’s cloud. These re-sellers have asked for more support for years, said one former Google employee. This year, Greene came to a crucial customer meeting with SADA Systems, a big Google partner. It was the first time in nine years an executive of her seniority attended a customer meeting, said SADA CEO Tony Safoian.

She’s also tapping her VMware Rolodex, talking with big enterprise rivals like SAP SE, Microsoft and Oracle, to get more of their products into the Google cloud. That’s must-have for some large companies, which need prepackaged software from these providers to run their businesses. No Oracle or SAP products are available on Google’s cloud today. Microsoft and Oracle declined to comment, while SAP confirmed early talks.
Greene’s experience should help her solve Google’s biggest, most-surprising challenge: its technology is too advanced. The company’s powerful internal systems work in radically different ways, which can make selling it harder.

Google’s first attempt at the cloud, App Engine, let developers upload software code and Google would handle everything else. It was a futuristic vision, but people didn’t want to rent computers like that. Instead, customers flocked to Amazon’s less-advanced but more-flexible offerings. Google is now developing products that look a lot more like its rival’s. “You have to meet people where they are,” said Holzle. “Otherwise they can’t get started.”
“They are probably the most advanced cloud operation on the planet. It also doesn’t matter,” said Carl Brooks, an analyst at The 451 Group.

Google needs more humdrum enterprise features like compatibility, compliance, and security, he said.
“Those are fair requests from our users and they’re coming immediately,” Greene said.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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