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​Google turns to the channel as cloud expansion plans increase

​Google turns to the channel as cloud expansion plans increase

Tech giant unveils revamped partner program in largest endorsement of the channel to date.

Google has revealed plans to bolster its partner program through the cloud, offering low interest loans, co-funding deals and improved rebates.

In what has been described as the tech giant’s largest endorsement of the channel to date, the revamped program will reward technical excellence through specialisation, while allowing partners to tap into the entire Google Cloud stack.

Revealed on the eve of Google Cloud Next ’17 conference in San Francisco, the vendor hopes the overhaul will help close the gap between long-time cloud rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.

“Google Cloud partners are essential to our commitment to help enterprises innovate faster, scale smarter and stay secure,” Google Cloud Head of Global Technology Partners, Nan Boden, said.

“An open platform encompassing diverse partners maximises the possible surface of innovation for customers, letting them move more quickly.

“Partners deliver significant value to our customers, and we're committed to supporting their success.”

Encompassing Google Cloud partners from across the G Suite, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Maps, Devices and Education ecosystem, the new program is designed to drive enterprise adoption of Google Cloud services across the board.

Specifically, sales training and product development credits will soon span all products, making it easier for partners to train staff members and build solutions across all Google Cloud products.

In addition, the vendor said new training and revenue goals to advance in the Google Cloud Partner Program now encompass G Suite, GCP, Maps, Devices and Education, whereas previous requirements were based on a single product.

As a result, Google hopes the move will enable partners to build cloud practices through multiple product areas.

“Partners deliver solutions and services that span all of Google Cloud, from machine learning and maps, to GCP, G Suite and devices,” Google Cloud Vice President of Global Partner Sales and Strategic Alliances, Bertrand Yansouni, added.

“We're making it easier to build seamlessly across Google Cloud by simplifying our partner program requirements and enhancing partner enablement and training.”

Delving deeper, Google also revealed plans to introduce specialisations across four key areas for the channel, including app development, data analytics, machine learning and infrastructure.

Available for partners capable of demonstrating “strong customer success and technical proficiency", Accenture is currently the only provider to be recognised across all four segments, with PwC in three.

Coupled with authorised training partner program changes, Google will now leverage its recent acquisition of Qwiklabs - a hands-on lab learning environment for cloud providers - to allow partners to offer “comprehensive courses” developed by Google experts to customers.

To further expand its cloud footprint through the channel, Google is also increasing investment in many of its existing partner incentive programs, as well as introducing new incentives to support the entire customer lifecycle.

In a bid to aid business growth, the company is making capital investment available to qualified partners in the form of low interest loans.

“We're expanding how co-funding can be used to accelerate a deal, enabling partners to use funds for early-stage strategy workshops, in addition to building a proof of concept or supporting customer deployments,” Yansouni added.

“In addition to the discounts GCP and G Suite resellers enjoy, we're expanding our rebates program to include all Premier G Suite and Premier GCP Reselling Partners.

“Cash rebates reward growth so partners can increase profitability and reinvest in their business.”

Alliances

Alongside new channel incentives and offerings, Google has struck deals with a score of new alliance partners, as it attempts to increase the “surface area” of its reach to customers across the world.

Specifically, the vendor has partnered with Intel, Veritas, Check Point and Egnyte.

In joining forces with Intel, Google will launch several technology initiatives and market education efforts covering the Internet of Things, Kubernetes and TensorFlow, including optimisations, a developer program and tool kits.

Meanwhile, Veritas is bringing its enterprise-ready data management solutions to Google Cloud, with the extended partnership covering GCP and G Suite.

As a result, the combined offering aims to provide customer opportunities to reduce storage costs, and leverage data management and information governance capabilities, through integrations with NetBackup, Backup Exec, Enterprise Vault, Enterprise Vault.cloud and the Veritas e-Discovery Platform.

From a security standpoint, Check Point has launched its cloud security solution, vSEC, on GCP to deliver extended cloud security across public, private and hybrid clouds, extending to the cloud the same multi-layered security that customers are running in their own data centres.

In addition, Egnyte has announced plans to integrate with Google Docs to enable its content collaboration solution, Egnyte Connect, to provide users the ability to collaboratively edit with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides directly from within the Egnyte Connect environment.

“Our partnering philosophy is driven by a set of principles that emphasise openness, innovation, fairness, transparency and shared success in the cloud market,” Yansouni said.

“Google’s commitment to this proposition has never been stronger.”

Local impact

Google’s increased channel focus comes ahead of plans to launch its GCP in Australia later this year.

As reported by ARN in September 2016, eight new Google Cloud Regions will include Sydney, Mumbai, Singapore, Northern Virginia, São Paulo, London, Finland and Frankfurt - and will be publicly available throughout 2017.

From a local perspective, Google will launch three availability zones in Sydney, hoping to add to the vendor’s global market of over one billion end-users.

The launch aligns with increased investment from CIOs across Australia, with public cloud spending surpassing $5 billion at a local level.

When sitting down with ARN at the turn of the year, Google Cloud Country Manager of Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ), Renee Gamble, insisted market potential remains strong for partners moving towards GCP and the cloud.

“We think there’s plenty of headroom left in the market,” Gamble told ARN.

“We’ve invested early in Australia in terms of our Google Cloud business and as a country we’ve been part of the first wave of adoption in terms of the overall cloud offerings.”

Globally speaking, Google - alongside Microsoft and IBM - continues to gain ground in the public cloud services market, at the expense of smaller players across the industry.

Despite the overwhelming dominance of AWS - in holding a majority of over 40 per cent - the three main chasing cloud providers are surging ahead also.

New data from Synergy Research Group suggests that in aggregate, the three have increased worldwide market share by almost five percentage points over the last year and together now account for 23 per cent of the total public Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) market, helped by particularly strong growth at Microsoft and Google.

In looking ahead to 2017, Google will hope to make further gains in the cloud through its channel, leveraging a partner base that continues to expand both locally and globally.

James Henderson is attending Google Cloud Next ’17 conference in San Francisco as a guest of Google.


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