The theme of the event said it all: the future of cloud is now. In the packed auditorium, blue chip companies rolled on stage: Disney, Colgate Palmolive, Verizon, Home Depot, HSBC and our own much loved UK brand (and Ancoris customer), Lush. With so many announcements (100 in total!), the atmosphere was buzzing and it was impossible not to feel the momentum behind Google Cloud.

Diane Green was first on stage, highlighting that Google Cloud had the highest availability of all clouds in 2016. Sundar Pichai followed and reiterated that Google Cloud is a natural extension of their mission to organise the world’s information – for businesses.

One of the highlights were the customer presentations which demonstrated different levels of cloud maturity and uses of technology, but all shared the same commitment to innovation and speed of change.

Mike Crowe, CIO at Colgate-Palmolive explained how his strategy relies on a small number of tight partnerships. They got a very good response when they announced the move to G Suite internally in May. They launched to global IT within 3 months, then recruited 900 Google guides to be champions on the ground. The final implementation with 20,000 users went live in November over one week-end. Since then, 90% users have become active on Google Drive and made extensive use of Hangouts.

Alin D’Silva, VP & CTO, Digital Workplace at Verizon talked about about migrating 150,000 employees to G Suite. “Better matters” is Verizon’s brand statement and he was keenly aware of the need of employees to move faster and collaborate. Verizon’s commitment to a more modern and progressive work environment meant they were looking to raise the bar on productivity and employee engagement, made possible with real-time collaboration. They also realised that new talent is expecting products such as this and that the company needed to have the office tools required by the new generation.

First customer of Customer reliability engineering services is Home Depot, with 400,000 employees in 2000 stores. They had built cloud native apps and wanted to run them in the cloud. They worked with Google to make their applications resilient to failures and migrated homedepot.com to Google in six months. They had flawless performance on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and are now looking to move their data analytics to Big Query.

Darryl West, Global Chief Information Officer at HSBC explained his commitment to the cloud and partnership with Google. As the world’s largest international bank with 4500 branches and 37m customers, it is heavily regulated. Information security, reliability and resilience are fundamental. Customers are adopting digital channels more aggressively, so the amount of data stored by the bank is increasing exponentially. Three years ago, they moved from on-premise to GCP for data analytics. They decided to work with Google Cloud as world class leader rather than continue doing this in house. Initial use cases include anti money laundering, finance liquidity reporting, risk analytics, risk reporting, valuation services. I like the advice is shared with the audience:

  • Take the jump and make yourself a cloud first company. Be bold to do innovative things
  • Pick a partner that has the same culture and way of working as you
  • Meet people as chemistry and culture of the organisation is very important. Make sure you like who you’re going to hang out with.

As to ebay, they see cloud as a strategic growth engine – Not just a technology exercise but a customer centric effort. Demands of shoppers are changing quickly and millennials have much higher expectations that previous generation. The need to move quickly has never been greater. In 5 months, they went from nothing to 1 billion items in their catalogue on Google Cloud Platform. They launched 6 months ahead of target and the whole project took 7 months. Ebay is now leveraging Google Home to be able to communicate with ebay using Artificial Intelligence making it possible for customers to communicate with ebay using natural language.

All the customers shared the same passion and enthusiasm, but I’d like to leave the final word to Alin D’Silva from Verizon: “You need to have meaningful change, otherwise where is the transformation?”