Bob Evans interviews Kevin Ichhpurani, Corporate Vice President, Google Cloud, as part of the Partners Ecosystem Innovation series, in which he speaks with top executives responsible for the ecosystem businesses of the Cloud Wars Top 10 companies. This exclusive series leads up to the Partners Ecosystem Digital Summit, taking place on April 20. Click here to register for the event.
In this interview, Bob and Ichhpurani discuss the Google Cloud partners ecosystem, which is shifting to encompass artificial intelligence, customer experience, growth, and innovation. Icchpurani also highlights new initiatives that Google Cloud has for its partners to guarantee customer success.
Register here for your on-demand pass to view all content from Partners Ecosystem Digital Summit. The digital event, which took place on April 20, focused on analyzing the business and IT imperatives around cloud, AI, automation, data modernization, and cybersecurity that define the future of partnerships.
00:41 — After introducing Icchpurani, Bob asks him to describe the biggest changes to the Google Cloud partners ecosystem over the last year or so.
01:26 — When talking about the ecosystem evolution over the last several years, it starts with identifying how the buying patterns of customers have shifted, explains Icchpurani. Two years ago, for example, customers were buying “elastic compute infrastructure” at a lower cost. Although that still exists, more and more customers are “buying on a digital transformation agenda today.” Customers are either improving business processes or rethinking business models entirely, he says. Fundamentally, the focus of the Google Cloud partners ecosystem has shifted to support the notion of a transformation agenda.
03:19 — Looking ahead, how does the Google Cloud partners ecosystem plan to progress, and how will it benefit Google Cloud customers? Core trends that Google Cloud is seeing right now include digital transformation, generative AI, and mitigating supply chain disruptions. Additionally, Ichhpurani notes how the way partnering happens is fundamentally changing. “What we are finding is that it takes a network of partners to operate as Lego blocks to solve a customer problem. We call that an Industry Value Network.”
06:40 — Another important trend, explains Icchpurani, is sustainability. Google has been a pioneer in the area of sustainability and has been carbon neutral since 2007. “We will be completely carbon-free in 2030, which is why a lot of customers are choosing us and our partners are building practices on Google Cloud,” he says.
08:36 — Bob asks Icchpurani to provide examples of how Google Cloud partners have helped customers grow and innovate in these disruptive times. More and more, customers are expecting the [Google Cloud] ecosystem to help with the innovation agenda. He offers an example of McKinsey, which is working with Google Cloud to identify, across all industries, how AI can help mitigate disruptions and pain points.
10:30 — Bob notes that Google Cloud is taking a number of steps to be perceived as “the most open cloud.” Why does the company feel as though they are the most “open cloud”?
11:11 — “We, as a company, Google and its heritage, has always been about openness,” explains Ichhpurani. Google Cloud’s commitment to open-source or generative AI, for example, underscores a history of openness. The company believes that open platforms are the ones that win in the market — not proprietary platforms. Customers want zero lock-ins and more innovation.
13:48 — The company’s stated goal for its ecosystem is to be “100% partner-attached.” Ichhpurani explains that “we want our partners in very early, helping us ideate with the customer, bringing together the line of business stakeholders — which are much more involved now in cloud decisions now that it’s a digital transformation agenda — together with it at an industry level.” However, the “bar” of what customers expect is being raised higher and higher. Now, customers want deep capabilities in areas like analytics, AI applications, cybersecurity, and modernization. Google Cloud developed a closed-loop mechanism — Delivery Readiness Index (DRI) — that provides partners with insights into what they need to do to raise the bar of quality.
16:45 — Elaborating on the connectedness between Google Cloud’s partners ecosystem and its customer success team, Ichhpurani explains that both departments work hand in hand. “We want to make sure our customer success organization is also the enablement arm to continue to raise the bar on the skill set within our partners.”
17:47 — In closing, Ichhpurani notes how partners were involved in Google Cloud’s latest announcement around generative AI. Google Cloud is working with a number of leading companies in the AI space to build on top of the Google Cloud platform.
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