Rhody Burton has been appointed as head of partnerships for Google Cloud across Australia and New Zealand, as the vendor acts on plans to build out a local channel ecosystem.
ARN can reveal that Burton - who resigned from her role as director of global business partners at IBM in May - will be charged with creating a network of providers capable of challenging for cloud market share on both sides of the Tasman.
With partners front and centre of local growth ambitions, Burton’s appointment - effective early January 2018 - will provide the tech giant with much needed credibility in both the channel and enterprise space, leveraging experience from IBM, SAP and VMware.
In the role, Burton will oversee a varied and deep Google Cloud ecosystem, spanning independent software vendors (ISVs); system integrators (SIs); born-in-the-cloud players; developers; consultancy houses; managed service providers (MSPs); global system integrators (GSIs) and telecommunications firms.
As outlined by ARN, the vendor’s channel consists of a contrasting but complementary collection of partners.
Today, a Google Cloud partner is specialised, collaborative, a developer of applications and a builder of code. But crucially, on occasions, cut from a different cloth.
And Burton’s expertise in this area will be crucial, following almost two years of helping Big Blue transition from a hardware centric vendor, to an agile cloud and cognitive solutions focused market player.
Since joining Big Blue in September 2015, Burton was responsible for the growth and enablement of IBM’s partner ecosystem across A/NZ, through the vendor’s ‘One Channel Team’ push locally.
During her tenure, Burton directed the channel through a period of sizeable industry change, as the tech giant shed its traditional image in favour of a cloud-focused market strategy.
Prior to joining IBM, Burton ran the local channel for SAP, restructuring the vendor’s partner ecosystem in favour of a more channel-centric approach.
Before SAP, Burton held a variety of channel facing roles at VMware, alongside partner positions at Business Objects, Crystal Decisions and Seagate Software.
During her time at VMware, Burton took out the Rising Star award at the 2012 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA), in recognition of her “dedication and passion” to career advancement, alongside her ongoing work within the channel.
Burton’s appointment also follows the recruitment of Ash Willis as head of cloud partners and alliances across Asia Pacific and Japan (JAPAC) in May 2017.
As revealed exclusively by ARN, Willis is charged with creating an indirect ecosystem of partners across the wider region.
From a Google Cloud perspective, Burton will oversee local partners that include Oreta, with the Melbourne-based start-up signing up as a strategic cloud partner in August 2017.
As revealed by ARN, Oreta entered the new-look network in two forms, as a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) partner and also a reseller, joining an expanding list of expert partners across Australia, including specialist players Shine Solutions, Fronde, 3wks and OniGroup, as well as consultancy houses PwC and Accenture.
Google’s increased push into the channel follows the launch of GCP in Australia in June 2017, with Sydney becoming part of the nine regions, 27 zones and 100 points of presence comprising the global GCP footprint.
As reported by ARN, the launch provides partners and end customers across A/NZ access to a range of locally-sourced GCP services, bolstered by significant reductions in latency.
Built by over 500 engineers, Google Cloud is now reaching customers across financial services, health, retail, media, energy and manufacturing, representing opportunities for specialist partners in the channel.
Local customers include Service NSW, News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and Woolworths, alongside global logos such as HSBC, Adidas, and Spotify.
Central to Google Cloud’s drive into the enterprise space has also been the recent appointment of Colin Timm as the new director of Google Cloud across A/NZ, tasked with driving large market cloud adoption locally.
Timm - who replaced Renee Gamble in the role in September 2017 - joined the tech giant from Telstra, where he most recently served as executive director across the enterprise business, working with 1,000 of the telco’s largest customers across Australia.