Welcome!

Release Management Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, David H Deans, Liz McMillan, Jnan Dash

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Agile Computing, Release Management , @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Google’s Enterprise Problem

Should enterprises change the way they think in order to take full advantage of the Cloud?

Compared to the insanity of today’s political environment, the world of Cloud Computing seems downright placid. The calmness on the surface, however, often hides turbulence underneath.

Take the hullabaloo surrounding comments that Greg DeMichillie, Director of Product Management, Cloud Platform at Google made on a recent GigaOM podcast – or more precisely, comments that he didn’t make. GigaOM’s Derrick Harris asked DeMichillie whether Google Cloud Platform might go the way of, say Google Reader, an example of a product Google killed in spite of its market traction because Google felt that Reader didn’t fit into its strategy. DeMichillie replied that essentially developers didn’t have anything to worry about, because Google Cloud Platform externalizes what Google uses internally. “There’s no scenario in which Google suddenly decides, ‘Gee, I don’t think we need to think about storage anymore or computing anymore’,” DeMichillie said.

However, what he didn’t say was that Google was committed to the Google Cloud Platform long term. This omission caused various analysts and pundits to pounce, leading to Google’s PR company walking back DeMichillie’s comments – that is, if it’s even possible to walk back something an executive didn’t actually say. Enterprises want futureproofed technology, say the pundits. Enterprises are in IT for the long haul, after all. There’s no way they’d go for a Cloud the service provider wasn’t fully committed to!

Ever the contrarian, ZapThink doesn’t agree with these pundits. Google’s reluctance to commit to the Cloud Platform long term isn’t an indication that Google doesn’t understand the enterprise Cloud buyer, or that Google isn’t committed to serving their enterprise customers long term. Rather, it’s more of a cultural difference between Google and typical enterprises. Fair enough – but won’t a cultural disconnect be a problem for Google as they ramp up their enterprise Cloud offering? The answer is no, but understanding why requires understanding the broader context of enterprise Cloud Computing.

Google’s Cultural Context

In an earlier ZapFlash, I explained how Google’s and Amazon’s lack of cultural baggage positioned both companies to compete well against the telcos. The story in today’s ZapFlash, however, is more about the culture that Google champions, rather than the cultural baggage it lacks. Over the years, Google has revealed its culture in many ways:

  • Google’s willingness to try anything. Not only are Googlers expected to spend a sizable chunk of their time on pet projects, but they love to run many of those pet projects up the flagpole to see which customers will salute. Some ideas take off, others founder, and many find themselves in a seemingly never-ending beta state. True, there are products like Google Reader or iGoogle that gain traction, only to be pulled from the market. But many more ideas take off and remain lucrative, adding to Google’s already impressive bottom line.

  • Google’s Silicon Valley, millennial-centric culture. The idea of two forty-somethings interning at Google is so ludicrous, Twentieth Century Fox actually produced a feature comedy based entirely on this premise. Need I say more?

  • Don’t be evil. More than an informal motto, don’t be evil is one of Google’s core values. While this principle calls for integrity and honesty, those characteristics don’t differentiate Google from millions of other organizations who also champion such traits. What makes this motto special at Google is how people within the organization actually act upon it as Google has grown into the global powerhouse it is today. By all accounts, this motto encourages Googlers to make decisions based upon what’s best for the customer, where “the customer” refers to an idealized notion, rather than necessarily referring to specific paying customers. For example, Google fastidiously tweaks their search algorithm to frustrate the efforts of search engine optimizers, whose goal in life is to game the system. Such optimization is better for search users in general, as well as for the Internet overall. In this context, all users of the Internet are Google “customers.”

  • The culture of scale. The reason Google is a Cloud player in the first place is because they figured out how to scale their infrastructure. But there’s more to Google’s culture of scale than the infrastructure story itself. Everything they bring to market must leverage this scale, which means that everything they work on must have massive scale as a core enabler. This trait gives new meaning to the maxim think big.

Roll up these cultural characteristics and DeMichillie’s perspective begins to make sense. True, the Google Compute Engine and Google App Engine began as experiments that leveraged Google’s massive scale. Now that enterprises are taking advantage of these tools, Google clearly won’t leave such customers out in the cold, since doing so would “be evil.” But will these products remain essentially unchanged five or ten years out? Nobody knows. From Google’s perspective, DeMichillie’s comments were right on target. Enterprise developers shouldn’t have anything to worry about, right?

The Bigger Picture

There’s more to this story, of course – and the larger story is a drum that ZapThink has been beating for a while now. At its core, Cloud Computing is a phenomenon  of the Internet and the broader world of Web scale. It’s no mistake that companies like Amazon and Salesforce have defined the Cloud marketplace, as both vendors were born of the Web and live and breathe horizontal scalability, basic availability, eventual consistency, and decentralized, hypermedia-oriented architectures. Such Web scale environments are inherently dynamic.

Legacy enterprise IT environments, in contrast, focus on vertical scalability, high availability transactionality that requires immediate consistency, and centralized, middleware-centric architectures. And while such legacy environments have managed for the most part to meet the needs of global enterprises, they are inherently static, inflexible and expensive to maintain.

Cloud Computing is bringing the world of Web scale to enterprise legacy environments one way or another. Nobody wants the Cloud to be more like enterprise legacy. On the contrary: everyone wants enterprise legacy to be more like the Cloud.

Google understands this bigger picture with every fiber of its being. The world of Web scale is Google’s culture and its foundation, both its technical foundation and its raison d’être as a business. But more importantly, the world of Web scale is at the core of the value proposition it brings to customers – including its inherently dynamic nature. It doesn’t make sense to Google to bring a “futureproofable” offering to the enterprise. Instead, they are living their “don’t be evil” mantra by expecting and even encouraging enterprise customers to move to the world of Web scale, even though it’s inherently dynamic.

The ZapThink Take
Analysts love chopping up broader markets like Cloud Computing into ever-smaller market chunks like IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. In fact, the whole Cloud Computing market itself is a somewhat arbitrary construct. Analysts take this divide and conquer approach, of course, so they can write about individual markets.

When markets have matured, such slicing and dicing often makes sense. But as I’ve discussed before, because Cloud Computing is an emerging market (or set of markets), it doesn’t fit well into the spreadsheet-driven market models the analysts use. Nevertheless, most vendors try to shoehorn themselves into the various analyst buckets even in emerging markets, if for no other reason than to encourage analyst coverage.

Google, however, doesn’t like playing this game. In fact, when DeMichillie discussed Google Compute Engine and Google App Engine, he didn’t use terms like IaaS and PaaS. Instead, he discussed application hosting, storage, and development platform as the core elements of Google’s Cloud Platform – a categorization that makes sense to Google, but doesn’t necessarily line up with analyst market models.

This phrasing on his part had a deeper meaning. Google isn’t committed to IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS – or even the Cloud itself – as market categories. Instead, Google is committed to running many things up the flagpole to see what meets customer needs in a scalable, non-evil manner. If the market categories end up different in ten years, then so be it. What matters is that Google’s innovation is customer-focused – yes, even on enterprise customers.

So, should we expect futureproofed offerings from Google? Absolutely not. But more importantly, we don’t want futureproofed offerings from Google. We want innovative offerings with a laser focus on delivering customer value at scale. Can Google learn to tell this story better to enterprise buyers? Absolutely. But don’t let their culture-driven approach to market messaging interfere with your understanding of Google’s core value proposition.

More Stories By Jason Bloomberg

Jason Bloomberg is a leading IT industry analyst, Forbes contributor, keynote speaker, and globally recognized expert on multiple disruptive trends in enterprise technology and digital transformation. He is ranked #5 on Onalytica’s list of top Digital Transformation influencers for 2018 and #15 on Jax’s list of top DevOps influencers for 2017, the only person to appear on both lists.

As founder and president of Agile Digital Transformation analyst firm Intellyx, he advises, writes, and speaks on a diverse set of topics, including digital transformation, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, devops, big data/analytics, cybersecurity, blockchain/bitcoin/cryptocurrency, no-code/low-code platforms and tools, organizational transformation, internet of things, enterprise architecture, SD-WAN/SDX, mainframes, hybrid IT, and legacy transformation, among other topics.

Mr. Bloomberg’s articles in Forbes are often viewed by more than 100,000 readers. During his career, he has published over 1,200 articles (over 200 for Forbes alone), spoken at over 400 conferences and webinars, and he has been quoted in the press and blogosphere over 2,000 times.

Mr. Bloomberg is the author or coauthor of four books: The Agile Architecture Revolution (Wiley, 2013), Service Orient or Be Doomed! How Service Orientation Will Change Your Business (Wiley, 2006), XML and Web Services Unleashed (SAMS Publishing, 2002), and Web Page Scripting Techniques (Hayden Books, 1996). His next book, Agile Digital Transformation, is due within the next year.

At SOA-focused industry analyst firm ZapThink from 2001 to 2013, Mr. Bloomberg created and delivered the Licensed ZapThink Architect (LZA) Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) course and associated credential, certifying over 1,700 professionals worldwide. He is one of the original Managing Partners of ZapThink LLC, which was acquired by Dovel Technologies in 2011.

Prior to ZapThink, Mr. Bloomberg built a diverse background in eBusiness technology management and industry analysis, including serving as a senior analyst in IDC’s eBusiness Advisory group, as well as holding eBusiness management positions at USWeb/CKS (later marchFIRST) and WaveBend Solutions (now Hitachi Consulting), and several software and web development positions.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Rodrigo Coutinho is part of OutSystems' founders' team and currently the Head of Product Design. He provides a cross-functional role where he supports Product Management in defining the positioning and direction of the Agile Platform, while at the same time promoting model-based development and new techniques to deliver applications in the cloud.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settl...
@CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX, two of the most influential technology events in the world, have hosted hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors since our launch 10 years ago. @CloudEXPO and @ExpoDX New York and Silicon Valley provide a full year of face-to-face marketing opportunities for your company. Each sponsorship and exhibit package comes with pre and post-show marketing programs. By sponsoring and exhibiting in New York and Silicon Valley, you reach a full complement of decision makers and buyers in ...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
LogRocket helps product teams develop better experiences for users by recording videos of user sessions with logs and network data. It identifies UX problems and reveals the root cause of every bug. LogRocket presents impactful errors on a website, and how to reproduce it. With LogRocket, users can replay problems.
Data Theorem is a leading provider of modern application security. Its core mission is to analyze and secure any modern application anytime, anywhere. The Data Theorem Analyzer Engine continuously scans APIs and mobile applications in search of security flaws and data privacy gaps. Data Theorem products help organizations build safer applications that maximize data security and brand protection. The company has detected more than 300 million application eavesdropping incidents and currently secu...
Rafay enables developers to automate the distribution, operations, cross-region scaling and lifecycle management of containerized microservices across public and private clouds, and service provider networks. Rafay's platform is built around foundational elements that together deliver an optimal abstraction layer across disparate infrastructure, making it easy for developers to scale and operate applications across any number of locations or regions. Consumed as a service, Rafay's platform elimi...
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Ca...