Google's Kevin Ackhurst
Poached from Juniper in October last year, Google Enterprise's new Australian managing director, Kevin Ackhurst, is seeing the company's Cloud collaboration business model grow in leaps and bounds.
Ackhurst has a storied APAC tech background, having spent 14 years at Microsoft, across New Zealand, Australia and Asia, and has watched the move to Cloud from its infancy and is riding an unprecedented market shift in the market that is seeing the company's Cloud based infrastructure, including Gmail, Google Apps (including Hangouts), its data analytics portfolio and other bleeding edge technologies pique the interest of some of Australia's largest enterprises, including Woolworths, News Corp which is now Google Apps based, and with some 25,000 Chromebooks on the ledger.
Allan Swann (AS): So what does a consumer focused company have to offer the Channel, don't you just deal with customers directly?
Kevin Ackhurst (KA): The broader Google is a consumer company, and we've learned from that in the way we interact with enterprises. Channels are absolutely important to us. Every transaction that we take in A/NZ and, in fact, in most places worldwide, goes through our channel partners. We work closely with them, all the delivery and implementation work is done by them, and I task everyone in our team with enabling them and assisting them in the work that they do. We have training programs, product certification, and partner conferences — we're actually attending one in the US next week. ANZ is actually one of the largest contingents, in terms of partners from the regions of the world.
AS: So are we going to see a big Australian push in this space from Google?
KA: The enterprise business is growing faster than any other part of Google's business; you can see that in our results that we release. The expectation is that we're going to grow this division across the world, and especially Australia. Australia and New Zealand is one of the four focus markets for us, in terms of the places in which we believe we can grow faster than other areas. As a result, my boss continually reminds me of the opportunity.
We are quick adopters, and as a consequence, people seem open to the Cloud discussion here. That willingness to try new things, and that need to treat technology slightly differently because of how far we are away from Europe and the US, opens up opportunities for the way in which we operate.
AS: Are there any uniquely Australian challenges in the market that you don't see elsewhere?
KA: The challenges we face in other developed countries apply just as strongly here. Companies want to move to the Cloud, and they want to evaluate all the opportunities available to do that, they want to reduce the cost they have with respect to their infrastructure, focus on innovation and collaboration.
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