Seeking to realign its pricing and product configurations to align with the new priorities and tougher decision-making among business customers, Google Cloud has rolled out some significant changes in its pricing and its configuration of cloud services.
I think this is a much-needed area of focus for all of the Cloud Wars Top 10 companies because, while technology innovation continues to be and always will be essential, today’s economic climate and fast-changing business environment are making traditional go-to-market policies either cumbersome or even unmanageable.
So the big cloud providers need to become every bit as nimble and forward-looking in their go-to-market approaches as they already are with their cloud products and services development and roadmaps.
Look at the breakaway success SAP has had in the past two years with the launch of its Rise go-to-market program, which CEO Christian Klein has called one of the most-successful offerings the 50-year-old company has ever had.
While the new offerings yesterday by Google Cloud are certainly not on that scale, they do represent a commitment by Thomas Kurian‘s fast-growing company to ensure that its customer-facing policies are as modern and flexible and open as its cloud technology and products.
Stating unequivocally that its goal with the new program is to “help our customers purchase and consume Google Cloud services more easily,” the company said in a Feb. 15 blog post that it is “removing barriers to entry, aligning cost to consumption, and rewarding longer-term commitments.”
You can read the full Google Cloud blog post here, but from my perspective, these are the most-compelling elements.
- Google Cloud Flex. “Many customers choose multi-year commitments because they provide better line-of-sight into IT spend and budgeting,” the Google Cloud blog post says. “However, these commitments can be challenging for those who don’t have clear visibility into their future cloud consumption needs. That’s why today we’re launching Flex Agreements, which enable customers to migrate their workloads to the cloud with no up-front commitments. As part of this new licensing option, customers still get access to unique incentives, such as monthly spend discounts, committed-use discounts, cloud credits, and access to professional services, based on monthly spend and workloads migrated to Google Cloud.”
- New pricing tiers to give customers more choice. “In addition to contractual flexibility, our customers also need the flexibility to choose features and functionality based on their stages of cloud adoption and the complexity of their business requirements. Therefore, over the next few quarters, we will launch new product pricing editions — Standard, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus — in parts of our cloud portfolio.”
- Aligning cost to consumption via autoscaling. “Many Google Cloud products include autoscaling capabilities to help customers manage unplanned variations in demand…. We are now taking these capabilities to the next level by enabling autoscaling in BigQuery at a more granular level so you never pay more than what you use. This allows you to provision additional capacity in smaller increments, so you never overprovision and overpay for underutilized capacity.”
While the new policies outlined above are certainly not revolutionary —and they were certainly not intended to be — I feel they’re worth highlighting because the stresses and strains that customers are under today are unlike anything we’ve seen over the past few years.
And those pressures and new reality cannot be addressed exclusively through new and better technology — they also require new customer-engagement models of the type Google Cloud has proposed.
As with so many things in the Cloud Wars, this is a work in progress. But I have no doubt that customers will be watching very closely to see how well the world’s largest and most-influential cloud providers are revamping their go-to-market policies and programs to match the current reality those customers are facing.