Google helps Australian businesses ‘Go Transform’

Data, culture keys to digital transformation, says Google Cloud’s Colin Timm

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Google is helping Australian businesses embrace digital transformation through a program that lets enterprises learn from its experience of creating a culture of innovation, according to the company’s local cloud boss.

There are two main pillars to digital transformation according to Colin Timm: Data and culture. And Timm, who in 2017 was appointed Google Cloud’s ANZ country director, says Google is supporting Australian enterprises with both, including through its ‘Go Transform’ program.

At least 70 Fortune 500 companies have participated in Go Transform, according to the company’s global transformation lead, and it’s contributed to US$1.2 billion in revenue generation.

“There’s many, many companies that will turn to us and say, ‘Well we want to just come and spend time with you,’” Timm told Computerworld. “Google is renowned as being a company that has a particular culture that promotes that level of innovation and has achieved many things as a cloud native over the last 20 years.”

Timm said established businesses are asking themselves if they have a culture for transformation: “Are our people thinking beyond the boundaries of the traditional?”

“Organisations are turning to us and saying, ‘Let's engage in a process whereby you can help us learn more about ourselves and learn more about the opportunities to ‘be more’, to embrace transformation in an optimum way,’” Timm said.

Go Transform begins as “an elevated conversation to really understand the pressures and opportunities that [a customer has] in their business and what their intentions are over a period of time to reshape the traditional business that they had.”

Workshops bring together the customer, Google’s professional services organisation, and, usually, a partner (typically one of the big systems integrators). Interviews with a business’ CEO and leadership team are used to help tease out “what the areas of opportunity for transformation are”.

“Whether it's growth, whether it's a completely different approach to a market, whatever it is,” Timm says. “And then we bring that together into working groups to actually take and tease that out to the next level.

“It's a strong investment from Google’s professional services organisation, but also our systems engineering folk, people from across our product groups that very much bolster them and ensure that we have partners engaged. Then of course we’re able to work with a customer to execute the transformation plan that we've collectively designed.”

Timm said he can’t name the local customers that have participated in Go Transform, but says it has included some major “traditional” Australian enterprises.

Google Cloud is known to have had high-profile engagements with a number of large Australian enterprises, including Australia Post, Woolworths and ANZ.

In all three of those cases, analysing vast quantities of data has been a key use case for Google’s cloud services. Data analytics and artificial intelligence services are two of Google Cloud’s key competitive advantages, according to Timm.

“You consider what Google has been doing over the last 20 years, what is in the DNA of Google and our mission around organising the world’s information, and making that universally accessible and useful,” he told Computerworld. “When you bring that into a world of cloud, that is our prowess as well.”

Google Cloud is helping “truly democratise” data for its customers, Timm said.

Google came relatively late to the Australian cloud services market: The Sydney region of Google Cloud Platform launched in mid-2017, close to half a decade after Amazon Web Services and almost three years after Microsoft planted its Azure flag in Australia.

That hasn’t prevented Google Cloud from enjoying “enormous” momentum, Timm said. At a global level, Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed in July that Google Cloud had achieved an annual revenue run rate of over $8 billion. Google Cloud “continues to grow at a significant pace,” Pichai said during a Q2 earnings call.

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