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Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene on how its enterprise-readiness push is paying off

The Google Cloud Next conference in San Francisco has seen the search giant reinforce its commitment to addressing misconceptions about the enterprise-readiness of its cloud infrastructure and software propositions

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene has revealed details of how the firm has doubled-down on its efforts to court the business user community, after analysts said it could take the firm up to a decade to ready its cloud platform for enterprise use. 

During the opening keynote of the Google Cloud Next Conference 2018 in San Francisco, Greene said the firm has made a concerted effort, on several fronts, over the past two years to address misconceptions that its cloud services are not enterprise-ready

“Two years ago at [Google Cloud Next], I had a meeting with the industry analysts and they gave me a lot of hard feedback that we were not enterprise-ready and, judging from other companies they had seen trying to get enterprise, it might take 10 years. So we buckled down, [and] we took the challenge,” she said.

These efforts have included rolling out tailored cloud offerings, designed to meet the specific needs of particular vertical markets, including financial services, public sector, retail and media and entertainment, paving the way for a number new enterprise account wins. 

These include US retail giant Target, whose chief information and digital officer, Mike McNamara, told attendees at the show about how migrating to the Google Cloud Platform enabled the company’s website to withstand seasonal holiday traffic spikes, prompted by once-a-year sales events, such as Cyber Monday and Black Friday. 

McNamara, who joined the firm three years ago, said the company had been “dangerously late on digital”, and the first Cyber Monday sales event he oversaw during his tenure at the firm was a “fairly miserable affair”, marred by defective database that caused knock-on performance issues for its website. 

“There was nothing we could do [aside from] throttle traffic to the site and limp through the rest of the day. As it happens, we had a huge sales day, but we upset hundreds of thousands of our customers and we left tens of millions of dollars on the table,” he said.

“By the time my second Cyber Monday had come around, we’d moved Target.com to the cloud and – rather alarmingly – yet again, a key database began to overheat, but this time it was different.

“This time, with the execution of a few simple commands, we spun up a new database, on a bigger server, transferred all the data across and redirected the traffic. The whole affair lasted about 20 minutes. Our [customers] never noticed, and the sales kept rolling in.”  

As well as winning over newcomers to the cloud, Greene said the firm is also succeeding in usurping Amazon Web Services (AWS) in the affections of some enterprises, before going on to confirm that online gaming giant, Unity, had recently jumped ship from there to the Google Cloud Platform. 

She also name-checked film and TV streaming service Netflix, one of AWS’s longest-standing reference customers, as a power user of its G-Suite portfolio of business productivity and collaboration tools, before going on to announced a newly formed technology tie-up between Google and the National US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

As such, Google has become the first commercial participant in the NIH’s push to lower the cost and technological barriers to providing biomedical researchers with access to the huge datasets they need to uncover new medical advances, which will be stored on its cloud servers. 

As for why these organisations are opting to use the Google Cloud, Greene cited the firm’s focus artificial intelligence (AI), security and engineering and innovation, pointing out the number of techies the firm employs vastly outweighs the number of sales staff it has.

“We’re proud of being cutting edge, but we’re also proud of having the table stakes an enterprise needs. We’ve been doing what the regulators and industry analyst have been telling us to do,” she added.

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