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Google targets the enterprise

Allan Swann | March 25, 2014
New Australian managing director, Kevin Ackhurst, plots the path ahead.

CTOs are now more likely to be conducting an evaluation of how the technology works, but not necessarily looking at the cultural implications of this.

AS: Google Enterprise's reputation in the marketplace is as being focused on direct to market, or SMBs — how are you now pulling in the big fish?
KA: SMBs are really the early adopters of things like Google Apps, so our SMB team has been very successful in terms of the engagement that they've had. And that's largely driven by inbound requests for information — we have a team that takes inbound requests via the Web all day, essentially helping SMBs to set up.

We've been finding more recently that larger businesses are contacting us, saying, we want to connect to these small and medium businesses, how can we work with you to actually make that happen? So it gives us the opportunity to partner with those that you might typically consider to be more interacting with SMBs, so that we can help them to be more effective in the web and be better customers of our customers.

AS: If SMBs go direct to you, aren't you cutting out your channel partners?
KA: No, not really. Our partners are the ones that have made the move to the Cloud more quickly than more traditional types of IT organisations. That kind of concern largely comes from an organisation that is probably tied to more companies that are tied to software, and the installation of servers, rather than the stuff that we do.

Our partners think about this stuff like we do: our products allow us to provide additional services on top of the things that they do, so that they can develop additional functionality. Or they can effectively act as advisors for change within organisations, and so it creates all sorts of new revenue opportunities.

Typically, the companies that are approaching us are the ones that have traditionally sold datacentres and servers to organisations, and now they want to tap on a little bit of Google on the side. But we're representing a new way of working and a new way of collaboration, and your whole organisation is going to have to change if you want to sell those options to the market.

It's something I think about a lot when dealing with our marketing teams. There's still a lot of people that don't understand the breadth of the services that we offer. However, the strength of our brand, combined with our big wins, like Woolworths, News Corp and Fairfax, has led to other people wanting to talk to us.

Woolworths, for example, has even committed to rolling out 25,000 Chromebooks amongst its user population.


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