As Kurian takes over at Google Cloud Platform, here are the big questions

Thomas Kurian brings strategy and sales knowhow to Google Cloud Platform. Here's a look at the moving parts and open questions to address.

kurian.png

Thomas Kurian will take the reins of Google Cloud Platform from Diane Greene and enterprise buyers have more than enough to watch and ponder. Simply put, Kurian is going to bring a cultural change to GCP and it's worth watching how the strategy changes over time.

ZDNet: Black Friday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks | Cyber Monday 2018 deals: Business Bargain Hunter's top picks

On Friday, Google announced that Kurian would take over for Greene. Analysts were positive on the news. Jefferies analyst Brett Thill said Kurian can propel Google Cloud Platform (GCP) to its next phase of growth.

Thill said:

We believe Thomas Kurian, recently President of Product Development at Oracle, is the right hire to take Google Cloud to the next level, with a top reputation in providing strategic technology to large enterprises. We believe he is one of the top tech executives in Silicon Valley.

But questions remain. GCP is in a good position, but Kurian will have his challenges. Here's a look at some of the key questions enterprise tech buyers need to consider.

Does GCP have a go-to-market issue? Kurian knows product, but he also knows how to woo CIOs, target verticals and cross-sell. While Greene brought CIO cred to GCP and built a large organization focused on large enterprises over three years she wasn't a master pitchwoman. Kurian will be more glossy and likely to hone GCP's go-to-market strategy and recruit a sales army. Google's engineering is second-to-none, but the company's cloud unit has historically struggled to put together a coherent narrative and sales strategy.

Also: Top cloud providers 2018: How AWS, Microsoft, Google, IBM, Oracle, Alibaba stack up | Everything you need to know about the cloud, explained | XaaS: Why 'everything' is now a service

Will Kurian push for more mergers and acquisitions for GCP? Kurian is a strong strategist and Google has the market cap to drive cloud acquisitions that can resonate with CIOs. ServiceNow and Nutanix would be potential choices.

Will GCP make a move on AWS and Microsoft Azure? GCP is clearly in the big three public cloud provider conversation, but it hasn't exactly taken share from AWS or Azure or slowed their growth. It's telling that GCP chatter on Google's recent conference calls has minimized.

CNET: Black Friday 2018: The best deals on sale right now | The best Black Friday deals of 2018: The Cheapskate's picks | Black Friday 2018 Amazon deals now available

Can GCP develop its hybrid cloud game more? GCP has made some inroads on its hybrid cloud strategy for enterprises, but it is competing with the following:

Does Kurian's Oracle experience apply to GCP? Kurian reportedly butted heads with Oracle CTO Larry Ellison on cloud strategy. Based on the public cloud standings, Kurian is jumping from a primarily SaaS player (Oracle) with broader ambitions for infrastructure to GCP, which is No. 3. It remains to see if Kurian's jump in the cloud standings can help GCP move up.

How many Oracle execs will be brought over to GCP? To say that Oracle and Google have vastly different cultures would be a massive understatement. Kurian is likely to bring trusted lieutenants over to GCP and those moves will lead to cultural upheaval. The big question is whether the reshuffling will impact operations and customer facing functions.

TechRepublic: Black Friday 2018: Best deals for professionals | Adobe Creative Cloud gets 25% discount for Black Friday

Can Kurian's knowledge of the database business provide an opening for GCP? It's open season on Oracle's core database business, but the software vendor remains strong. Kurian has inside knowledge of Oracle and that can lead to openings for Google to attack the database and applications market.

Related stories:

Best Black Friday 2018 deals: