Partners Welcome Latest Google Cloud Offerings, New Go-to-Market Initiatives

Google Cloud’s new CEO, Thomas Kurian, is boosting partner marketing programs.

Jeffrey Schwartz

April 17, 2019

5 Min Read
Partners Welcome Latest Google Cloud Offerings, New Go-to-Market Initiatives

(Pictured above: Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian on stage at the company’s Next event in San Francisco.)

Partners gave Google Cloud high marks for the ambitious additions to its technology portfolio and expanded global infrastructure footprint, as well as new go-to-market efforts through a  growing ecosystem of integrators, ISVs and managed service providers (MSPs).

At last week’s Google Cloud Next 2019 conference in San Francisco, partners welcomed the broad set of additions across its service and product portfolio. Partners also expressed confidence that Thomas Kurian, the Oracle veteran who recently took over as CEO from Diane Greene, will maintain its promise to include them in all deals by incenting its sales force to do so.

“He’s clearly partner-centric,” said Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, speaking during a panel discussion last week with media during Google Cloud Next. “Partners need a lot of help and enablement, and he recognizes that we need specializations, we need depth and we need to be able to distinguish ourselves from one another.”

Noting that the number of partner and developer certifications quadrupled last year, Kurian announced that Google Cloud is further expanding its partner efforts.

“We’re massively expanding our go-to-market organization, not just with salespeople, but the technical specialists who deeply understand technology and industries and can help you build great new transformational opportunities using our technology foundation, Kurian told customers in his opening keynote session at Google Cloud Next.

“To make it easy for customers to do business with us, we’re introducing a variety of new things: simplified pricing, easier contracting and co-innovation frameworks,” Kurian added.  “We recognize that partners are very, very important to Google and we’re broadening our partner reach and introducing a number of new enhancements in our partner program. We are very grateful to all of our partners who have done so much to help us further our mission to being successful as a digital transformation provider.”

New MSP Initiative

In addition to announcing a significant number of new products and services, notably its new Anthos hybrid- and multicloud software platform and the preview of a planned managed serverless offering called Cloud Run, Google expanded its partner initiatives. Among them were partnerships with open source database and analytics providers, added specializations for resellers and service providers and the new Google Cloud MSP Initiative.  

The new MSP program is invitation-based for those partners that Google Cloud believes have shown extensive cloud expertise. The program has three tiers: member, partner and premier. While basic members are eligible for limited access to Google Cloud’s resource site, those with partner and premier designations are eligible for various deal registration and referral benefits, added margin, incentive programs, sales and customer management tools, access to demo and testing environments, road-map briefings and various levels of technical and sales support.


Google Cloud’s Carolee Gearhart

Partner and premier MSPs are also listed in Google Cloud’s partner directory (the latter are included in a premier listing). Google Cloud also demonstrated an updated partner portal that includes a new industry solutions hub, competitive solution comparisons and additional solution-specific workloads, such as IoT, distributed ledger and security.

“There is a ton more content, there is better availability and access to that content,” said Carolee Gearhart, Google Cloud’s VP of worldwide channel sales, who came on board at last year’s Google Cloud Next conference. “And we are focusing in on releasing more.

Doubling Down of Partner Services Fund

Nina Harding, Google Cloud’s channel chief for global partner strategy and programs, told Channel Futures that one of the most popular initiatives is …

… the Partner Services Fund (PSF). Launched in late 2017, the PSF provides additional funding on top of any MDF or margin for proof-of-concept implementations. Harding said the company has doubled the funding of PSF. Asked how much Google Cloud has invested in PSF, Harding said she couldn’t disclose the amount, “but I will tell you it is significant,” she said.

“This is actually I think one of the biggest differentiators we have,” she added. “And this is one of the favorite things that we keep hearing from our partners because the fund allows them to offset the cost of a proof of concept at a customer location, helps them with the initial implementation.”

Wim Los, senior VP of global systems integrator Atos, which formed an alliance last year with Google and last week launched its managed Open Hybrid Cloud based on the new Anthos platform, welcomed the various initiatives. Los particularly said Google has increased the field sales and technical resources provided to partners.


Atos’ Wim Los

“Having the right people from Google working with us in the direct interaction with the customer and explaining what use cases can be developed, and how does that work in practice, is an important step,” Los said.

He also noted Google has started to provide better technology roadmaps to partners and customers.

“Google as an engineering company was traditionally always late with announcing new stuff,” Los said, referring to surprise releases. “They’re making a good effort to [share product and service] pipelines and development efforts.”

John Han Joo Lee, CEO of Bespin Global, an MSP that operates in China and Korea, also is seeing increased commitment from Google Cloud, with Kurian’s recent arrival.

“One of the shifts that we’re seeing, as [Kurian] came into the organization, is his commitment to really make the One Google story actually a reality,” Lee said, noting that Google is also becoming less siloed. “We’re definitely seeing a change in that. I think we’re still in the early stages. But once this really gets going by the end of the year, I fully expect as a channel partner to GCP, you would not be just limited to GCP, [but] the full spectrum. And I think that’s going to be a real game-changer.”

Read more about:


About the Author(s)

Jeffrey Schwartz

Jeffrey Schwartz has covered the IT industry for nearly three decades, most recently as editor-in-chief of Redmond magazine and executive editor of Redmond Channel Partner. Prior to that, he held various editing and writing roles at CommunicationsWeek, InternetWeek and VARBusiness (now CRN) magazines, among other publications.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like