Forrester looks at the opportunity for Google Cloud partners

One reason that I joined Google Cloud’s channel team was the importance Google places on partners and the opportunity we have together to help customers succeed. In 2019, our partners responded to this opportunity and are seeing the results. Google recently commissioned a new Total Economic Impact study from Forrester, which shines some light on our partner community, how they are helping customers succeed, and the opportunities they’re seeing. 

Based on interviews with Google Cloud partners, Forrester’s research helps illustrate why so many cloud and enterprise partners are building on, supporting, and providing unique services to customers deploying Google Cloud. As we enter 2020, the opportunity ahead for partners working with Google Cloud is larger than ever. Let’s look at some highlights from the study.

Why are partners choosing to grow with Google Cloud?

Open, multi-cloud strategy. Customers overwhelmingly choose multi-cloud environments, and partners are increasingly choosing to work with Google Cloud thanks to this multi-cloud approach. But equally important is Google Cloud’s support of open source software, like Kubernetes. Partners who want openness are choosing to work with Google Cloud.

Data, analytics, and AI capabilities. Our differentiated capabilities in data and analytics—BigQuery, DataFlow, Dataproc, and Tensorflow—are also key reasons partners choose Google Cloud. A good example of this is our partner Deloitte, which in 2019 began to build new solutions leveraging BigQuery, AI, and ML to help customers in clinical research better leverage enormous quantities of data.

How are partners growing their businesses on Google Cloud? 

Forrester data reveals that partners are seeing strong revenue and margin growth by building products, developing services, and selling capabilities on Google Cloud, and they’ve also seen success in differentiating themselves by earning specializations for the platform as well. 

Growing services offerings. As customer demand for Google Cloud capabilities grows, partners are seeing increased business from services offerings, helping customers implement GCP capabilities, including AI and ML, data center modernization, and multi-cloud deployments with Anthos. For example, the average migration services deal size for Google Cloud partners increased between three-to-six times over the last three years, while cloud modernization and application development deals grew by between three-to-five times during the same period.

High-value projects. Partners in Forrester’s study were also able to increase their margins by adding services around higher-value analytics, AI/ML, cloud modernization, and cloud-native application development projects, as were partners who built custom IP on GCP. While Google Cloud offers strong margins for products across the board, like G Suite, the study showed that partners who moved “up the stack” to more complex technologies earned larger margins overall.

Investing in talent and skills development. In Forrester’s research, some partners reported up to 800% growth in hiring over a four-year period. This aligns with what we already know: Google Cloud skills and talent are in high demand, and hiring and building skills around Google Cloud continues to be a tremendous area of opportunity and differentiation for our partners.

Certification and training. Google Cloud partners are continuing to invest in training and certifications for their teams. For example, one partner surveyed by Forrester has a goal to have 70% of its technical staff certified on Google Cloud by the end of the year. Our partners have many opportunities to build new skills on Google Cloud, including sales and technical enablement offerings, professional development tools and incentives, and in many cases, no-cost certification training.

Expertises and Specializations in key areas. Investments in Expertises and Specializations help partners differentiate themselves and fill technical skills gaps that customers need. The number of our partners that have earned Specializations increased nearly three times over the past year (based on Google Cloud data), which was reflected in interviews conducted by Forrester as well.

What opportunities lie ahead?

Forrester asked partners about the road ahead, such as where Google Cloud partners see the most opportunity to grow and differentiate their businesses. 

We know that it’s still early days for cloud migration across industries, but a few key product areas stood out as opportunities for partners—particularly, data analytics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and building custom IP. Customer engagements in these areas are leading to repeat business and larger contract values for partners, Forrester found, so building expertise can help “further bolster partners’ value proposition and differentiation in the marketplace.” 

We’re excited about the shared opportunity we have with partners to help customers solve their trickiest challenges and address their biggest opportunities with Google Cloud. To learn more, download and read Forrester’s full TEI study, “The Google Cloud Business Opportunity for Partners,” here. Visit us here to learn about our Partner Advantage program, including more details about how you can start earning new Google Cloud Specializations and Expertises.