#20: Google Cloud’s channel partner value, with Eric Rosenkranz.

When I started the Ultimate Guide to Partnering, I set as my objective to “inform the partner ecosystem” on how to best engage with the technology giants. My first series of episodes emphasized my roots and experience at Microsoft. My goal has been to expand and explore the partner strategies of the other technology giants, how they view their partner ecosystems and what they seek from and what makes great partnerships.

In this episode I interview a partner leader at one of the other technology giants, another “hyperscaler”. For those not deep in the technology sector, a “hyperscaler” is one of only a few companies in technology capable of making the significant investments in cloud infrastructure, geographically dispersed data centers, network infrastructure, etc. Only a few companies are capable of these investments at scale and the most notable are: Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Definition from Wikipedia – In computing, hyperscale is the ability of an architecture to scale appropriately as increased demand is added to the system. This typically involves the ability to seamlessly provision and add compute, memory, networking, and storage resources to a given node or set of nodes that make up a larger computing, distributed computing, or grid computing environment. Hyperscale computing is necessary in order to build a robust and scalable cloud, big data, map reduce, or distributed storage system and is often associated with the infrastructure required to run large distributed sites such as Facebook, Google, Microsoft, or Amazon.

This interview is focused on Google and I was joined by Eric Rosenkranz, Google’s Cloud Platform Service Partner Lead for North America. Eric was also a former colleague of mine when we both worked for Microsoft.

In this interview Eric tells his story, share his impression of Google’s unique value and his view of partnerships and teams. It’s an excellent view for any channel partner who works with more than one of the technology giants, or just wants to broaden their perspective on the industry.

On his focus…

  • His role – leads the North American team focused on regional and national system integrators, partners doing IT outsourcing and traditional resellers looking to enrich their offering. He is building the partner ecosystem geographically and across vertical and industry solutions.
  • His focus – services partners that build repeatable IP and innovate or leverage the advanced capabilities Google offers – such as machine learning.
  • Perspective on competition – the experience and early bets AWS made have led to dramatic success and public cloud adoption. Microsoft has had big success across many cloud offerings and geographies.
  • Why Google? – the quality of talent and engineering at Google, delivering things like its search engine and adjacent technologies. Google is solving for the big computer science problems around machine learning, containers, self-driving cars, language translation, etc. Google is also a huge contributor to “open source”. Eric references Googles contributions to Tensor Flow, an open-source software library for Machine Intelligence.
  • What is Google doing now? – Google has increased the number of offerings and increased its geographical coverage to support the market. One example we discussed was containerization where Google really stepped out ahead of the market as part of its own development efforts. Video is another great example of the advanced work tied to machine learning and the API’s (Application Program Interface) Google provides for partners.
  • How he views Amazon and Microsoft? – He tells his team to view them more as coalition partners than competition. There is a opportunity for all three to transform the IT landscape to produce bigger impact for shareholders or the mission. He also believes many organizations will have a multi-cloud strategy.

On partnering…

  • What attributes does Eric look for in partners? – Partners that can solve discrete industry use case scenarios and build repeatable IP, and strong depth and breadth of cloud expertise. Work for which Google’s customers are asking. Partners investing in unique scenarios, technical capacity and capability and an investment in both talent and go to market activities. Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning, Core Infrastructure and Containerization were areas of focus he cited.
  • What does he think makes a great partner? – a relationship grounded in trust and integrity. “No matter how strong engineering talent or sales and marketing, the best partners do right by customers and their technology partners.”
  • Common myths about working with Google? – in his first weeks on the job the initial reaction he received from partners was a sense of surprise that Google had a channel strategy or partnership program. He has seen the perception change dramatically in his time in role as Google gets the message of its partner programs to market broadly.
  • Partners that failed – his general experience working with partners that failed in the past occurred when expectation were not properly aligned on a business outcome.

On his career…

What is the most fun aspect of the job – the value the partnership brings to the business, the excitement that builds when relationships are spun-up and joint wins. He also enjoys being part of something that is growing and cites the broad initiatives across Google’s parent company Alphabet to be a disruptive engine to the economy.

His career journey – Eric shares the story of his start in IT and how it ultimately led to a role at Microsoft. He ultimately joined the Microsoft Azure team during its early formative years.

Advice he would give someone he were mentoring? – “Understand your superpowers and double down on them”. People that leverage their “powers” or strengths and find people with the skills that bolster their capabilities are ultimately more successful.

Role Models – his wife. She is CEO of her own company, gets stuff done, and balances many things on her plate at one time.

Advice he’d give his 20 year old self – don’t expect your journey to take a deliberate and predictable path.

Another piece of advice – he is a big fan of meditation to improve his focus and also enjoys yoga as a great way to shut things down.

Personal billboard – don’t wait, meditate!

How to reach Eric: ehr@google.com or on Linked In.


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