Google Canada’s cloud business climbing the ranks, says country manager

Jim Lambe, country director of Google Cloud for Canada is seen at Google Next in San Francisco
Jim Lambe, country director of Google Cloud for Canada

SAN FRANCISCO — Google Canada has rocketed from seventh to fourth place in total revenue size for all Google Cloud markets in the past two years according to Jim Lambe, managing director, Google Cloud Canada, thanks to its strategy of growing the cloud business by signing anchor clients in key verticals and learning about their people and processes as well as their technology requirements. ITWC sat down with Lambe at the Google Cloud Next conference to hear about the state of Google Cloud in Canada today, and how it’s achieved growth.

Jim Lambe, country manager, Google Canada.

“The technical component of cloud is one thing,” Lambe noted, “But the organizational requirements, the people requirements, the process requirements within organizations is also a change for legacy entities.” While born-in-the-cloud organizations like Shopify were written for the cloud, companies like 187-year-old Scotiabank have ingrained policies, procedures and people creating applications into their existing environment. The cloud is foreign territory.

“We needed to understand the use cases for financial services and retail and telcos. But we also need to make sure that we had an approach that allowed us to really invest in very specific customers,” he said. “The tech that is going to work in banking is different to what works in retail. So we wanted to focus just so we understand the industries from a technology perspective, but also understand the industries from an organizational perspective. The biggest barrier to cloud adoption is organizational behaviour.”

Canadian anchor clients began with Telus International, then all of Telus, and also include Scotiabank, Loblaws, Celestica, Hudson’s Bay, and Canadian Tire. CBC has been a long-time user of collaboration services like G Suite, and runs on the Google cloud. It was also an early adopter of Google’s Kubernetes products such as GKE.

Lambe is particularly impressed with ATB Financial, who he calls a beacon of how an organization can use G Suite to change its culture to focus on the customer.

“It’s incredible what they’ve done,” he enthused. “The way they rolled out the toolset, their approach to their people rolling out the toolset was the best I’ve seen. It’s one of the most impressive organizations I’ve seen in 30 years.”

Google’s newly announced Anthos, an enhancement and rebranding of Google Cloud Platform, excites both Googlers and customers alike with its hybrid multi-cloud approach. With Anthos, customers will be able to seamlessly span multiple cloud vendors and on-premises implementations, monitoring and managing them from a single console. Lambe believes that traditional enterprises in Canada with multi-cloud strategies can profit from it. Google came late to Canada, and while it has offices in several cities, it only has a single datacentre in Montreal, but Lambe teased, “Stay tuned on that one.”

This year, the plan is to expand into several other verticals, including the public sector, manufacturing, and health science (the entire Google health science engineering team is based in Waterloo, Ont.).

To do so, Lambe says Google Canada is tripling its go to market teams, adding to its Ottawa and Montreal offices as well as the new Toronto office that he expects will reach capacity this summer. The company is also partnering with Nelson in the education market.

“We have an amazing opportunity in Canada to be the number one cloud provider,” he said. “Our belief is that mutual success will foster and grow more mutual success. That’s my conviction. I think if we learn with our customers about the people, the process, the technology, when we get that right together, the success is going to be incredible.”


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