Google Cloud Platform: What’s In It for Partners, ISVs and MSPs?
Google Cloud Platform‘s Q4 2019 revenue grew to $2.6 billion — up from $1.71 billion in the corresponding quarter last year.
On the one hand, those cloud revenues are growing quickly. But on the other hand, Google is still giving chase to Amazon Web Services (AWS – $9.95 billion in quarterly revenues for Q4 2019) and Microsoft ($11.9 billion in Q2 2020, though that figure includes server-related revenues).
The big question for partners: Amid the AWS and Azure competition, what potentially makes Google Cloud Platform (GCP) a unique, compelling platform upon which to build a business?
You can find some clues by looking at ChannelE2E’s Top 200 Public Cloud MSPs list — which tracks AWS, Azure, Google and other types of successful cloud partners.
You can find more details about successful Google Cloud partners by checking out new research findings from Forrester. The study interviewed 19 Google partners with well-established Google Cloud practices across North America, Western Europe, and Asia Pacific. Those partners, in general, saw larger profits as they transitioned from selling toward providing services and building their own intellectual property on the Google Cloud Platform.
Google Cloud Platform: Partner Benefits
Here are five key takeaways from the study:
- Multi-cloud and analytics are playing a big role. Partners are moving toward Google because of its open, multi-cloud strategy, as well as its data, analytics, and AI capabilities.Those surveyed spoke highly of Google’s multi-cloud approach but were equally enamored by Google Cloud’s support of open-source software like Kubernetes. Additionally, data collection and analytics seem to be a key point of attraction.
- There is more profit to be made in providing services. Forrester’s research showed that around 70 percent of Google partner revenues come from professional and managed services.Moreover, partners who built their own custom IP on or for Google Cloud solutions were often able to sell their offerings with earning margins over 60 percent. Specialization came with another benefit: Those companies had to do little outbound marketing.
- Google Cloud skills and talent are in high demand. According to Forrester, some partners reported as much as an 800 percent growth in hiring over a four-year period. Many companies see a benefit in hiring and building skills around Google Cloud, with increasing investments going toward Google Cloud certifications. These serve to both provide credibility in the marketplace and help to justify higher fees.
- Expertise and specializations create opportunities. Companies say that by differentiating themselves they are able to fill technical skills gaps that their customers need.Google says that the number of its partners that earned specializations increased nearly three times over the last year, which it says was reflected in interviews conducted by Forrester.
- Looking ahead, cloud migration presents opportunities for partners. As Google itself says, it’s still early days for cloud migration across industries. Still, there are a few key product areas that partners should look to, particularly data analytics, AI, machine learning, and building custom IP. The research from Forrester found that engagements in these areas are leading to repeat business and larger contract values for partners.
For instance, IP helps partners accelerate project timelines while providing unique value to customers. “Continued research and development investments in custom IP will continue to be associated with improved profitability and revenue growth for partners,” the study’s authors wrote.
Google Cloud Platform: Key Business and Partner Moves
Meanwhile, Google continues to invest heavily in its public cloud services and associated partner programs. Key moves include:
- November 2018: Announcing the Google Cloud CEO leadership transition from Diane Greene to Thomas Kurian, an Oracle veteran, effective in early 2019.
- March 2019: Hiring Oracle veteran Amit Zavery as VP of engineering.
- April 2019: Rallying customers and partners with new offerings during the Google Cloud Next 2019 conference.
- April 2019: Hiring SAP veteran Robert Enslin to succeed Paul-Henri Ferrand as president of Global Customer Operations for Cloud.
- November 2019: Hiring Cisco Systems veteran Nirav Sheth in a partner sales leadership role.
Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.