Google Cloud counts on channel to capture untapped markets

Google Cloud counts on channel to capture untapped markets

Tech giant places trust in partners to help boost cloud presence

Rhody Burton (Google)

Rhody Burton (Google)

Google Cloud is focused on the 90 per cent of workloads that have not yet been moved to the cloud, and is counting on channel partners to capitalise on the market potential.

Addressing the trans-Tasman channel during Google Partner Summit in Sydney, Rhody Burton - recently appointed as head of partnerships across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) - said the tech giant is well placed to capture untouched opportunities across the enterprise.

"We believe that we can differentiate with our technology, with our go-to-market, more importantly our big differentiator is working with partners to help to tackle this part of the market," Burton said.

"The market is huge. We are the fastest growing cloud provider, we are the disruptor, we are the challenger, and we are over investing in this region because we take that incredibly seriously. If you combine that with our strategy around partnering, we are looking to you to help capitalise on this market."

Burton also encouraged partners to partner with one another, which is a growing trend the channel leader has observed within the Google Cloud ecosystem.

Burton also pointed out that in previous experiences, partners within a vendor's ecosystem would often see each other as competitors, calling for such a mindset to change.

Next steps for partners

Whether operating as a reseller, system integrators or managed service providers, partners today must be aware that customers are currently adopting emerging technologies at a faster rate than the channel.

That's according to Mark Iles - executive analyst at Tech Research Asia - when citing local research in partnership with ARN and Reseller News.

As explained by Iles, the key stakeholders are shifting with IT now in control of just under half of the budget, meaning the language partners need to use has to change in response to different buying patterns.

"New buyers equal new rules,” said Iles, when addressing the channel during EDGE 2018. “This is a trend we’ve been seeing for a while and for partners, they already know this.

“But, knowing this and actually acting on this represent two different behaviours entirely. We find that when partners are presented with such data, the response is almost always ‘yeah, yeah, we know’.

“When we speak to the customers however, the common line is that technology providers are still talking in technology speak.”

Iles said the most disparate result of the research was when customers named their needs and how that compared to what partners thought the customer's needs were.

As outlined via the research findings - profiling customers, partners, distributors and vendors across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) - 65 per cent of partners claim to be “ready and selling” customer experience, highlighting misalignment between channel expectations and market reality.

“Are they really?” questioned Iles. “Because customers don’t agree with this statement.”

Specifically, and according to findings, buyers want partners to “understand my customer”; “understand my business” and provide “deep solution expertise”.

Such demands differ to those viewed by the channel however, who consider the key hallmarks of customer value to be centred around an ability to be “easy to engage and do business with”; to provide “comprehensive end-to-end support” and to demonstrate “understanding of a customer’s business”.

Delving deeper, changing buying patterns demand a change in behaviour and approach, with customers encouraging partners to start “actually talking to us instead of telling us”, while also housing the flexibility to “go off script” and present new ideas and strategies.

Therefore, customers are marking partners down for “not understanding the business problem”; “poor account management and communication” and “not providing business case support”.

And in a market filled with new-look partners - spanning specialists, developers, agencies and consultancy firms among others - the traditional channel crop can ill afford such mistakes.

“There’s still a difference between what partners say they’re doing and what they are doing,” Iles acknowledged. “The ability for partners to change how they speak and communicate with buyers is difficult.

Specific to technology, customers placed cloud migration and data centre migration or expansion as the top two priorities during the next 12 months, with partners believing the end-user to be more focused on security, managed services and customer experience.

Cloud migration, which was the customer's number one priority was partners' fourth item on the list.

"The market is buoyant and budgets are increasing but spending patterns and decision makers are changing,” Iles said. "Traditional IT buyers are being surrounded with decentralised technology business representatives with a focus on operational outcomes.

"Specialisation by industry and/or solution continues to be more important than product expertise."

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