Thomas Kurian, the new CEO of Google Cloud, says that the search giant is revamping its strategy a little bit as it chases after the market-leading Amazon Web Services.
Rather than focus on so-called digital native companies — largely startups that began their lives in the cloud — Google Cloud is going to go after established companies in established industries like retail or finance.
“Historically, people have thought Google has a strong presence in the digital native community,” Kurian said onstage. “Over the last 12 months, we've shifted our strategy to go after more traditional industries…You will see us continue to focus our go-to-market effort in going after the largest customers.”
Kurian's remarks — his first since replacing Diane Greene as CEO in January— came at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference on Tuesday. Kurian came to Google following a long career at Oracle.
Kurian says that he plans to “significantly” expand Google Cloud's sales teams, and train them to target traditional industries like retail, manufacturing, automotive, finance, and others.
“We're going to specialize our sales team to talk to specific industries in the language of the industry,” Kurian said. “You will see us competing much more aggressively going forward,” he continued.
Similarly, Kurian plans on expanding Google Cloud's customer support teams — potentially fixing a major customer complaint with the platform.
“In order to serve a large corporation well, it's important for those organizations to have a person to talk to,” Kurian said.
More broadly, Kurian says, Google Cloud is taking a new philosophy called “Customers for Life.” This involves not only acquiring and retaining customers, but converting them into advocates for Google Cloud.
Right now, Google Cloud is considered the number 3 cloud on the market, lagging behind Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Analysts say Google needs to step up its ability to sell into the largest customers. Kurian's game plan here could help plug that gap and make it more competitive, as he inherits
At the same time, though, Kurian says that customers believe that Google Cloud has come a long way — and that it still has a competitive edge.
“I talked to the largest customers and asked, ‘Why did you choose Google?' Kurian said. “Uniformly, the feedback I got was, ‘It's by far the best technology in the market.'”
Meanwhile, Google Cloud is already working to acquire prominent customers. Last week, Google Cloud partnership with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday to bring advanced data analytics to the franchise. Insiders also say that Kurian is likely to lead Google Cloud in making aggressive acquisitions.