The designation isn't easy to achieve and Google Cloud is rewarding those who go the extra mile with more tools.

Kelly Teal, Contributing Editor

July 31, 2019

4 Min Read
Head in the clouds
Everyone is moving toward the cloud. As the marketplace gallops in that direction, having all components completely software-defined, integrated and all from a single vendor will be a significant asset when it comes to a customer’s support needs. Customers don’t want to deploy new infrastructure in their data centers. They want to purchase it, and they want top-notch, simple and streamlined service from whoever they’re buying it from. Sometimes they want to just be able to pay for cloud infrastructure and manage it entirely on their own. HCI makes that possible — and easy.Shutterstock

More than 90 partners now boast Google Cloud specializations as the company continues to take on Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure.

Google Cloud doesn’t boast the market share of its two main competitors, but the recent official launch of its Partner Advantage program aims to increase reach and revenue.

The leadup to the unveiling of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program entailed certifying a range of integrators, managed service providers, consultants and other partners to ensure their capabilities. Participants attained specializations in competencies including:

  • Application development

  • Cloud migration

  • Data analytics

  • Education

  • Work transformation – enterprise

  • Infrastructure

  • Internet of things

  • Location-based services

  • Machine learning

  • Marketing analytics

  • Security

  • Work transformation

Google Cloud sees its specializations as proving partner proficiency and experience, the company notes on the partner website. Indeed, one of the aspects of specialization requires a business plan demonstrating partners’ plans to invest in their particular areas. It should come as no surprise, then, that earning Google Cloud specialization was – and is – no easy task.

“These partners demonstrated compelling customer success stories, a consistent practice, and passed a rigorous capability assessment,” Nina Harding, Google’s chief of global partner programs and strategy, wrote in a blog.

Maven Wave Partners, a Chicago-based IT solutions provider, is a Google Cloud premier partner with eight specializations under its belt.

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Maven Wave Partners’ Jessica Wesley

“It’s reassuring for customers to know that the partner they chose to work with has the technical knowledge and proven success with other customers facing similar challenges,” Jessica Wesley, senior marketing director for Maven Wave, told Channel Futures. “[Our] multidisciplinary approach produces game-changing results for our clients who choose to take advantage of Google Cloud.”

“This achievement places us in a select pool of partners who specialize in data-driven marketing and harness cloud computing to generate meaningful marketing insights,” Ankur Jain, senior vice president, cloud platforms, for Merkle, said in a press release. “We continue to commit ourselves to achieving the best business results for our clients through data management, IT and cloud innovation. The use of Google Cloud’s tools further enhances these capabilities and results.”

All that activity surely is what Google Cloud hopes to foster through the new Partner Advantage program. Harding said as much in her blog

“Partnering is a key part of how we serve our customers, so we are committed to building an ecosystem of innovation and services that can drive digital transformation for customers,” she wrote.

Which Option Is Best?

The Google Cloud Partner Advantage Program features different ways to work with the vendor. There’s a self-engagement model that targets VARs and distributors. These parties integrate Google Cloud into their offerings and sell the technologies accordingly.

The service-engagement option targets systems integrators and managed service providers. They are able to consult, offer integration services, manage client applications and workloads, and even conduct Google Cloud-authorized training.

The build-engagement choice works best for independent software vendors and SaaS companies. Google said these partners integrate with or run on Google Cloud and incorporate products including G Suite and Chrome Enterprise.

Google Cloud says it offers other models, too, but partners first must enroll in Partner Advantage and verify expertise beyond the fundamental requirements. Those who do rise from the more basic “member” designation to “partner” gain access to the following resources:

  • Marketing campaigns, sales content, support resources, and training through the Partner Advantage portal.

  • Consideration for free co-branded customer success story development.

  • Business promotion in the Google Cloud Partner Directory and solutions in the G Suite and GCP Marketplace.

  • Financial incentives.

  • Access to Partner Advisor.

  • Use of the Google Cloud Partner Advantage badge.

The company said to expect more announcements soon.

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Forrester’s Jay McBain

Partners earning certifications such as those for Google Cloud are on the right track.

“All of the data we are seeing is that customers are wanting true multicloud support, and expertise across AWS, Microsoft and Google is increasingly preferred,” said Jay McBain, principal analyst at Forrester Research.

McBain added a word of caution, though.

“The specialization should be across line of business, sub-industry, geography, size/sector, and parts of the tech stack — but not a single vendor.”

Google Cloud already contributes a large chunk of revenue to parent company Alphabet’s earnings, and the new partner program stands to add to those numbers. The company’s second-quarter 2019 financials included more than $8 billion in annual revenue run rates from Google Cloud.

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About the Author(s)

Kelly Teal

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Kelly Teal has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist, editor and analyst, with longtime expertise in the indirect channel. She worked on the Channel Partners magazine staff for 11 years. Kelly now is principal of Kreativ Energy LLC.

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