According to a report published by Gartner, the spending priorities of CIOs are increasingly moving away from hardware to other areas. The consulting firm predicts worldwide IT budgets will grow by 4%, which senior IT executives will spend with the current geopolitical situation, shifts in currency valuation, and supply chain issues in mind.
Gartner identified four key spending areas for CIOs in 2022 and beyond: cloud computing, analytics, security, and improving the user experience. When we read this article, we couldn’t help but see the connections between those predictions, our clients, and Google’s strategy. In this article, our managing partner Dirk Vereycken and Google Cloud evangelist Bart Gouweloose explain their reasoning behind those links.
Bart immediately noted the resemblance between Gartner’s four priorities and what he likes to call the four domains of the Google Cloud Platform approach: the data cloud, the open cloud, the collaboration cloud, and the trusted cloud. There’s way too many parallels to go into it entirely, but we will give some more examples throughout this article. Suffice to say that Google’s philosophy was ahead of its time and is more relevant than ever.
Of course, cloud computing is an obvious first choice because of our focus on the Google Cloud Platform (GCP). It’s not just Google, though: no matter the service provider, cloud computing is on the rise in Belgium and beyond.
According to Dirk, we’ve entered a new phase in the cloud adoption process. In the first phase, companies used a “lift and shift” strategy to move their existing infrastructure to the cloud. Now, the cloud is a differentiator, or as Dirk likes to call it, “the engine of digital transformation”.
As Google enthusiasts, both gentlemen promptly see the connections with Google’s philosophy. Their tenets are innovative thinking and their famous “10x mindset”, which states that you should aim to improve by a factor of 10, instead of the more common 10%.
Dirk links this to his experience in sales. Compared to a just a year ago, he notices a lot more invitations to negotiations for both GC innovate and the Google competence centres at the Cronos Group. Companies especially appreciate the open cloud strategy that Google embraces. This guarantees that customers keep the freedom to move workloads around from GCP to other clouds or on-premise infrastructures.
Their approach is clearly getting more traction. GCi’s client base went from a small group of early adopters to a consistently and significantly growing number of clients that includes some of Belgium’s largest enterprises.
Dirk has noted an increase in demand for (big) data, analytics, and business insights (BI) in his many meetings with clients. As BI capabilities grow in tandem with evolutions in artificial intelligence and machine learning, companies increasingly realise that data is the new gold.
Dirk has several projects running where clients did not consider Google at first. The Google Cloud Platform is now their primary choice because of its unrivalled capabilities, while remaining easy to implement and use. Compared to other providers, and especially to traditional databases, the GCP’s various data cloud applications let companies work in real time with datasets whose sizes would have previously made this impossible.
Bart continues by attributing those possibilities to BigQuery, Google’s cloud data warehouse. BigQuery lets companies access external datasets and employs machine learning and artificial intelligence capabilities on those sets. This makes segment and trend analysis possible, which is a tremendous improvement over the relatively simple forecasting functionality in ERP systems.
Finally, Bart mentions the Analytics Hub, which gives companies access to market trends from other business domains that may affect their own market. Google Cloud launched Analytics Hub in Belgium a few weeks ago, so it looks like Dirk’s assessment of the Belgian market’s growing maturity will continue its trend.
Of course, all that data has to be handled securely. A security-first mindset is key for any cloud provider, especially in the current geopolitical climate. Dirk remarks that, for all companies, data security and privacy have become a top priority.
Ever the Google aficionado, Bart is quick to mention that Google takes it a step further through their zero trust security model. They have used this internally for years, and began pushing it externally in recent years. Zero trust has been met with widespread approval, even becoming the official security policy for US government agencies through a presidential executive order in May last year.
“At the core of a Zero Trust approach is the idea that implicit trust in any single component of a complex, interconnected system can create significant security risks. Instead, trust needs to be established via multiple mechanisms and continuously verified.”
When simplified, the zero trust approach means that security controls become context-based and users are (automatically) verified based on that context, such as location or time of day. It also means that Google has moved from a “shared responsibility” to a “shared fate” policy. They will help their clients as much as possible with setting up and maintaining their environment’s security, because any breaches also reflect badly on Google. This trusted cloud, together with the zero trust model’s focus on automation, vastly improves the user experience.
Just like the previous priorities identified by Gartner, Dirk has noted that user experience and the user in general have gained in importance at meetings with clients. Companies have realised that first impressions are everything and that customers are quick to move to a competitor if they offer a more seamless experience.
As the pioneer of the cloud-native way of working, Google helped to make these seamless experiences possible. Bart observes they put user-friendliness at the forefront, no matter the application. That quickly becomes clear when you look at the Google Workspace. As the chief representative of their collaboration cloud philosophy, Workspace wants to offer clients the seamless experience they are looking for by integrating both business apps and collaboration tools in the same environment.
By now, we hope it’s clear that both Gartner’s predictions and the current business landscape show that Google knows what they are doing. By investing in a connected, secure and user-friendly cloud platform based on data and analytics, they have quickly gained trust and recognition from users and companies alike.
Interested in seeing what the Google Cloud Platform could do for you and your business? Contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to share our enthusiasm and put you in touch with the right competence centres here at the Cronos Group.