Will Google Cloud ever win over enterprises?

The No. 3 cloud vendor continues its attempts to attract more enterprise customers and grow market share amid stiff competition from AWS and Azure. Can Google do it? Maybe not.

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IDC’s Arend sees Anthos as part of a broader attempt by Google Cloud to meet tricky enterprise customers where they need to be. “Thomas Kurian has shifted Google Cloud from being a container-first company—because that is how they run—to being more focused on virtual machines,” she said. “The technology areas that might not be at the cutting edge are the bread-and-butter ones for more enterprises. Google Cloud also has a great story around their networking capabilities, which is super critical for enterprise workloads where latency will be a key obstacle.”

Google Cloud’s SAP opening

One area where Kurian’s enterprise focus is starting to pay dividends is with SAP customers, especially since SAP stepped back from its Embrace preferred cloud partnership with Azure earlier in 2021, instead encouraging customers to host their next generation S/4HANA ERP platform wherever they prefer.

This created a huge opening for Google Cloud, which hired the ex-SAP cloud leader Robert Enslin—who worked with Deutsche Bank’s chief technology, data, and innovation officer Bernd Leukert at SAP for his entire career between 2005 and 2019—to lead global sales in 2019.

Since then, PayPal, Johnson Controls, Whirlpool, and British automotive distributor Inchcape have decided to move their SAP workloads onto Google Cloud infrastructure. “The company is winning business for its core competencies, such as data and analytics, but [Google Cloud] is also gaining ground with traditional enterprise workloads such as SAP,” Gartner noted in its latest Magic Quadrant report.

Can Google Cloud close the gap?

The trillion-dollar question is if any of this can move the needle for Google Cloud in what is a viciously competitive market.

John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research, likes what he is seeing in the numbers. “Google has built a multi-billion-dollar business that is growing by around 50% a year and is operating in a market that will continue to grow strongly for many years to come. And it is increasing its market share. What is not to like with that picture?” he asked.

Others, as Platformonomics analyst Charles Fitzgerald wrote, are less sure. “Google Cloud is a hobby at a company that gets easily bored with noncore businesses, and they’re becoming very ‘we have that too,’ which is a poor strategy for a distant No. 3. It is especially disappointing given their past distinctiveness. ‘Oracle but with more colors in the logo’ just isn’t very interesting.”

Many of Kurian’s moves in upskilling the organization, building bridges with partners and customers, and simplifying the company’s solutions are clearly starting to pay dividends. Credit Kurian for putting Google Cloud in a better position to compete for the next wave of cloud adopters. But the big-ticket deals have yet to filter through.

If they don’t, competing with the scale of AWS and entrenched market dominance of Microsoft is going to present an Everest-scale route to the cloud market summit for the No. 3 cloud vendor.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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