Cloud Ace has unveiled plans to double down on Google Cloud across Asia, as the start-up helps accelerate customer adoption within the enterprise.
Headquartered in Japan, Cloud Ace goes to market as a “one-stop solution provider” with deep Google Cloud Platform (GCP) expertise, spanning design, migration, operations, maintenance and training.
Alongside increased presence in Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Taiwan, the Premier Partner is attacking whitespace across ASEAN, both at speed and at scale.
“Cloud Ace was set up to purely focus on Google Cloud,” said Fumihiko Koyama, co-founder of Cloud Ace. “Our mainstream focus is GCP but we are interested in every Google Cloud product - whether it be Chrome, Jamboards or G Suite - if there is a market opportunity then we are interesting in pursuing it.
“As founders, we are aligned to Google Cloud technology. We are seeing growth from within the enterprise market for GCP solutions.”
As each day passes, another logo is added to the expanding list of customer case studies for Google Cloud. Think iconic global brands such as Twitter, HSBC and Bloomberg, not forgetting 20th Century Fox, PayPal and Target.
And Google Cloud requires such logos - delivered through a Customer Voices 2019 e-book - to build layer upon layer of credibility within the heart of the enterprise.
Closer to home in Asia, similar adoption challenges remain, as channel partners fight for a seat at a table already housing Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure.
But as explained by Koyama, when speaking to Channel Asia in Singapore, Google Cloud is fast becoming a credible alternative.
“This is very early days for Google Cloud in the enterprise, but they continue to invest in the region through skills and staff,” he said. “Google Cloud has very advanced technology, so it might not always be right for every business today.
“We acknowledge and accept that but if you look ahead, we believe that the enterprise will continue to have a different perception of Google Cloud technology. We have grown alongside Google Cloud. Two years ago we only had 15 employees, now we have 160.”
Central to changing perceptions within the enterprise market will be Thomas Kurian, appointed as new CEO of Google Cloud in late 2018, with an expectation to build on the foundations laid by Diane Greene.
Kurian, who spent 22 years at Oracle and had been a close confidante of its founder Larry Ellison, resigned in September after struggling to expand its cloud business. Now his task is clear, ensure Google Cloud realises its full potential within the enterprise.
“Google is first and foremost a technology company with a focus on producing by far the best technology,” added Andrew Shuttleworth, regional director of Asia Pacific at Cloud Ace. “They have invested over the years to build services and they are taking that world-class technology and making it available to customers in Asia.
“Google Cloud will continue to be a leading vendor in the years ahead but from our perspective, it’s key that they don’t like to tie customers down which means there is no lock-in. They believe in open source, making their technology available and being the best which we believe offers a competitive advantage.”
According to Shuttleworth - who is also country manager of Cloud Ace in Singapore - Google Cloud is also making strides within security, heralded as a leading priority for the technology giant.
“From a customer perspective, this is obviously very important,” he said. “Google Cloud is serious about the enterprise market and even if they were to maintain market share today, the industry is growing at such a pace there is lots of potential. If Google Cloud increase market share, which we believe they will, then the potential is huge.”
Naturally, Shuttleworth acknowledged the dominance of industry incumbents AWS and Microsoft Azure as potential roadblocks to future adoption of Google Cloud, but on the flip side, forecast a change of opinion among large-scale organisations.
“AWS is the market leader and they are an automatic choice for many customers, which means Google Cloud does have to increase brand awareness,” Shuttleworth said. “Likewise, Microsoft houses are aligned to Azure so Google Cloud has a lot of work to do in that respect.
“But as a Premier Partner, we have people on the ground and we are educating the market. We run many seminars and events to raise awareness and we’re seeing uptake as we get the Google Cloud message out further into market.
“Google is a strong brand name, and Google Cloud is up and coming within the enterprise space. But they are respected by the user base and we’re seeing a lot of openness among customers to deploy our solutions.
In April, Cloud Ace received the 2018 Google Cloud Global Application Development Partner of the Year award, unveiled during Partner Summit at Google Cloud Next ‘19.
From a technical perspective, Cloud Ace has acquired more than 200 Google Cloud certifications, housing 69 cloud architects, 60 data engineers, 67 associate cloud engineers and five cloud developers in the company.
Currently, the business has specialisations across eight core Google Cloud capabilities, keeping company alongside industry giants such Accenture, PwC, Deloitte and Rackspace.
“Like Google, we are also a technology company and our founder is an engineer,” Shuttleworth added. “Our first goal is to be the largest GCP partner globally and we can achieve that through sales volume and certifications.
“We only have 160 staff but we have over 200 certifications. I’m not a technical person but I am also certified because even from the business side, it’s important that we understand the technology. Specialisations within Google Cloud require success at a customer level, and we have proven case studies in that respect.”
Echoing an earlier sentiment, Koyama again pointed to Cloud Ace’s ability to bring the GCP message to the masses in ASEAN, following a recent round of seminars across 23 cities.
“This is one of our main strengths,” he said. “We are educating the market through focusing on the regions as well as the capital cities in each country, this is our key differentiator.”
Key Cloud Ace customers include MANTAN, Mediba and Kyocera, in addition to StarGarage, Leading Solutions and Five Star Games.
“If you look at the Singapore market especially, the early movers and cloud native companies are moving to the cloud anyway,” Shuttleworth observed. “The Infocomm Media Development Authority is very aware that there are lots of small to medium-sized businesses that also need to move to the cloud.
“Singapore doesn’t want Singapore-based businesses to just serve Singapore, they want them to serve the ASEAN market which is why scale is key. We are committed to supporting this initiative to help Singapore-based companies become cloud native.”
But as Shuttleworth acknowledged, migrating to the cloud can be a challenging undertaking at SMB level, requesting a technology and mindset culture to achieve success.
“For legacy companies, it is still early days but there’s lots of potential which is why we are building a business around this in Singapore,” Shuttleworth said. “A few years ago, businesses would argue whether cloud was viable or even secure, but now those concerns have been answered.
“The market that will go away is the on-premises element of having a person in your office sitting and managing cables and a server room.”
In looking ahead, Koyama said plans are in place to ensure Cloud Ace assumes number one GCP status in Japan and the wider ASEAN region.
“We’re currently in the top two partners in Japan but we want to be the standout number one player,” he added. “We have five offices across the region and we also want to ensure they are successful and profitable.”