Looking back on the past year, I see challenges—but also reinvention. Reinvention in how children are educated. Reinvention in how medical professionals provide care. Reinvention in how customers purchase products. This reinvention was made possible by all of the IT leaders around the world who had a vision about what could be possible with technology.
Technology has allowed people to work and complete critical activities safely outside of their standard locations. But, it has also enabled transformation in ways we have not seen before: in how people collaborate, in how businesses operate, and most important to me, in how organizations innovate.
Rethinking what it means to transform
The leading indicator for organizations that are accelerating their innovation during this time is how they are thinking about transformation. Instead of asking infrastructure questions about where their apps and services should run, they are asking transformation questions about how to build an environment that enables every person, process, and technology to adapt in order to bring the highest level of innovation to the business.
Innovative companies have moved beyond migrating their data centers to the cloud, changing not only where their business is done but, more importantly, how it is done. For example, Papa John’s recently announced they are building a digital platform that looks at real-time data across the business to improve its loyalty programs, website, and customer and partner experiences. Albertsons Companies is transforming itself by reinventing grocery shopping, both the digital and physical aisle, through shoppable maps, AI-powered conversational commerce, and predictive grocery list building. Airbus is reimagining their work environment to embrace the hybrid work reality. And Siemens is partnering with Google Cloud to reinvent industrial manufacturing with AI to empower employees, automate mundane tasks, and improve product quality.
Here, transformation is made possible with technologies that enable new innovations for their customers versus decisions about where infrastructure should be run. And this aligns with a recent study by Forrester that states the top two IT initiatives for the next 12 months are to increase innovation and to invest in technology that helps employees do their jobs better.1
Some of the best conversations I’ve had with customers are focused on how to:
- Accelerate transformation while also maintaining the freedom to adapt to market needs.
- Make every employee—data scientists to sales associates—smarter with real-time data to make the best decisions.
- Bring people together and enable them to communicate, collaborate, and share with each other when they can not meet in person.
- Protect everything that matters to us—our people, our customers, our data, our customers’ data, and each transaction we undertake.
This new customer thinking is driving new technology requirements—requirements that can be solved through a transformation cloud. A transformation cloud accelerates an organization’s digital transformation through app and infrastructure modernization, data democratization, people connections, and trusted transactions. The result is an organization – and its workers – that can take advantage of all of the benefits of cloud computing to drive innovation.
The new requirements for innovation
Organizations want to work with multiple cloud providers to choose the best technology for each of their apps and services while also mitigating against inevitable cloud outages and vendor lock in. They value the flexibility of open source based solutions and look to our multicloud platforms like Google Kubernetes Engine and Anthos to instill freedom in how they innovate and drive differentiated customer experiences. It is no surprise that, in a recent Google-commissioned IDG research study, 78% of Global IT leaders stated that multi/hybrid cloud support is a major consideration when selecting a cloud provider and 74% preferred open source cloud solutions.2 Customers like MLB, DenizBank, and Macquarie Bank understand the necessity of a multicloud strategy and are taking advantage of Google Cloud’s open, hybrid architecture to give them the maximum flexibility to run their business how and where they want.
These organizations also want to use data to better understand their customers, enhance their products, and improve inventory accuracy in order to make real-time decisions—and bring it together into a cohesive data cloud. They value how analytics solutions democratize access to data for all employees and how embedded AI helps them predict and automate the future. The Forrester study mentioned above also shows that companies focused on improving their use of data for better decision-making, are taking actions to improve data self-service capabilities and make access to data and insights more democratic.3 Customers like Twitter, PayPal, The Home Depot, HSBC, and Stanford Medicine, unify their data across their organizations to power deeper AI-driven business insights, make better real-time decisions, and build and run their data-driven applications.
And while technology is driving many of the transformations we see, so are an organization’s people. Workers are finding new ways to strengthen human connections, deepen their impact, and serve customers while transforming how work happens—as shown in the fact that 59% of organizations in the IDG study accelerated or newly introduced remote working and collaboration capabilities in 2020.4 Customers like Kia Motors, Cambridge Health Alliance, and PwC are using Google Workspace to enable teams of all sizes to connect, create, collaborate, and to drive innovation from any device, and any location.
Finally, the innovation that we see in every digital transaction is matched with new ways to protect and secure the business. Organizations want to protect their employees, customers, and partners against emerging threats, analyze massive amounts of data to secure infrastructure, and build a long term strategy for strategic governance of their assets regardless of their location. Getting this right is essential as organizations see security as a top pain point impeding innovation.5 Customers like Equifax and Evernote are using Google Cloud’s secure platform and security products to extend customer confidence anywhere their systems may operate.
Google Cloud technologies are already powering customers’ transformation clouds
Supporting our customers’ reinventions are our top priority and we believe that together, we can pave the way for what is next. With our investments in multicloud and AI/ML, to sustainable infrastructure, industry solutions, and technology that improves our communities, such as COVID-19 vaccine distribution, we are proud that our customers trust Google Cloud solutions to digitally transform their business.
We have lots more to tell you about in the coming months, starting with our Data Cloud Summit on May 26th. Between this event, and the multiple other events we have this summer, you will learn about how our industry leadership and collaboration with our partners are enabling our customers to build powerful transformation clouds to support their continued reinvention.