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Google targets the enterprise

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

AS: Are there any other companies on a similar scale that you're in discussions with right now?
KA: A whole range. And I'd love to talk to you about them once we've actually signed those deals.

AS: What are some of the key advantages you think Google offers these kinds of customers, compared to rivals?
KA: When we talk about how long it takes to roll our stuff out, we have most projects done — regardless of the size of the organisation — in about 3 months. That really excites them. They're used to an environment where they can't necessarily implement the stuff that they've bought, or it's going to take nine months or even years to have their stuff implemented. Then when we tell them that's this is the only time you're going to have to do it, the stuff will stay up to date after that, then they really start to get excited.

AS: A lot of the big Cloud providers have onshore datacentres, not just to reduce lag and other concerns in the face of Australia's poor broadband infrastructure, but also as a precautionary measure for data sovereignty legislation. Google doesn't have any onshore datacentres — so where are they?
KA: We don't talk that much about the locations of our datacentres. But we have two across Asia, and we're continuing to look at ways to invest in those datacentres, so people have a very good experience with our services.

Google works with local telecommunications providers, to ensure the best performance, such as with YouTube and our Apps etcetera. Customers have gone away and compared the Google Cloud offering to local operators, who have those datacentres on shore, and have told us they find Google's performance better. Our caching mechanisms and other technologies leads to a very good experience in Australia.

AS: But isn't this a problem for your enterprise offerings if certain industries, such as finance and law, need their data kept onshore?
KA: There are also industries that aren't regulated in such a way, such as media and retail, manufacturing and hospitality. Over the last four months, banking and financial services, and legal entities, have all explored the way in which we work. They want to know where we store their data, whether they can have backups of data onshore, so we find ourselves having those conversations on an ongoing basis.

AS: Any other trends you see emerging in 2014 for businesses?
KA: We're now seeing a lot of HR directors coming to talk to us. If a CEO has tasked an HR Director with the task of change of culture in an organisation, the HR directors want to talk to us about the way we interact, the way we do performance reviews, and the ways in which technology can drive collaboration within the organisation. It's allowing the HR director to rethink the role they play in terms of technology.


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