Companies are bracing for the toughest phase in business continuity: Karan Bajwa – Livemint

Karan Bajwa is settling into his new role as the managing director (MD) of Google Cloud in India after his appointment in March this year. An industry veteran, prior to this, Bajwa served as the MD of IBM, India and South Asia, before which he led Microsofts India operations. In a Mint interview, Bajwa shares his top priorities, growth of the cloud business, and the impact of covid-19, among others. Edited excerpts:

As you take over the new role, what are your top priorities?

As MD for Google Cloud in India, I am responsible for driving all revenue and go-to-market operations for our extensive solution portfolio that includes Google Cloud Platform and G Suite for Google Cloud in India. This includes managing our field sales, partner and customer engineering organisations in India, along with Google Clouds continued work with the local developer ecosystem and India-based Global System Integrators (GSIs). Given the challenges businesses are facing in India today with covid-19, modernising their technology infrastructure for business continuity is on the agenda for almost every enterprise CIO and CEO. My team and I are focused on helping Indian businesses of all sizes solve their most complex business with cloud technology so they can serve their staff and their own customers. This includes ensuring their teams can adapt to virtual work, that their business processes are scalable and resilient, and that the demands on their infrastructure are sustainable.

How has the impact of covid-19 been so far and what are you doing differently?

In addition to the serious implications on peoples health and healthcare services, the covid-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on businesses and the global economy. Companies have been hit hard and are bracing for what many are referring to as the toughest phase in business continuity. We are having daily conversations with businesses around how we can help them serve their staff and their customers in these challenging times. We have taken initiatives like making premium Google Meet features available to customers for free; helping governments build rapid response apps and virtual agents to ensure citizen preparedness; ensuring healthcare providers have the collaboration tools and infrastructure support that they need to provide enhanced healthcare services; and discussing how retailers can pursue omni-channel strategies and better predict product demand.

How has Google Clouds growth in India been and where does India stand?

We dont break down into regional numbers but as per Alphabets Q4 FY19 earnings call, Google Cloud has hit an annualised run rate over $10 billion, a 53% increase year-on-year. We are hiring aggressively in all major markets worldwide including India and are looking to triple the size of our customer-facing employees (sales, service, and support) globally over the next few years. We are also invested and committed to the Indian market. We launched our first GCP (Google Cloud Platform) region in Mumbai in 2017, and last month, we announced plans to launch a second GCP region in Delhi in 2021.

Which are the fastest growing verticals in terms of adoption of Google Cloud?

Both digital natives and incumbents across industries are choosing Google Cloud to run their critical workloads. Globally and in India, we are focused on six top industries: financial services, telecommunications, media & entertainment, retail, healthcare & life sciences, manufacturing & industrial, and public sector and are aligning our field sales organisation to them. This will allow us to have a deep understanding of the needs of each vertical, and partner with our customers to solve their most pressing business problems effectively.

How are you leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in Google Cloud?

AI is built into everything that Google does and it is a competitive differentiator for Google Cloud. One of the unique aspects of our Cloud AI group is that we are doing research and building products within the same organisation. This gives us an opportunity to tie our innovation and customer insights into the same feedback loop to build the best possible AI products. We also have the opportunity to work cross-functionally with research teams like Brain and DeepMind, as well as product teams across Google.

Many products within Google Cloud fit into established spaces that our customers already know. AI is still so nascent, and customers want to use it but need help understanding how. There are fewer than a million data scientists and just thousands of deep learning researchers in the world, but there are over 21 million developers. We want to empower that large developer base with products they can use to build AI into their technology stack, especially with an offering like AutoML.

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Companies are bracing for the toughest phase in business continuity: Karan Bajwa - Livemint

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