Last week, I spent a couple of days at GCP Next 2016, the Google Cloud Platform Global User Conference in San Francisco. Imagine: clusters of data analysts, data scientists, engineers, CTOs, CIOs… and me, the lone writer-editor. That being said, I wanted to share my key takeaways, as many of these insights certainly stem from Google, but truly touch on all facets of modern business.
IoT (Internet of Things, if you’re not familiar… and you should be) is not a trend; it’s the future of digital consumerism and workforce efficiency in the enterprise
Consider the light bulb. How do you operate a light bulb with a smartphone? It used to be that, well, you didn’t. But with Google Cloud Platform (GCP), Philips was able to create Philips Hue, a line of smart light bulbs that can be programmed with a smartphone and work with Apple HomeKit and Nest.
What does this mean for your business? Everything is moving into the digital space… and the focus for customers is on customization, immediacy, and quality; the focus for employees is much the same. IoT is already here, and you need to consider connected devices the new norm for customers and workers.
GCP is gaining major traction in the race against AWS and Microsoft (aka Azure)
Forrester Research is right to tell us that, in terms of IaaS, Google is still behind AWS and Microsoft. But with Spotify, Google’s most recent big win — so big, in fact, that I saw a billboard talking up their union on the highway last week — Google’s cloud is becoming a more realistic option for big companies; companies like Best Buy, Domino’s, and Coca Cola — to name a few.
The cloud is no longer news. Security in the cloud? That’s news
Urs Hölzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure at Google, said that when it comes to security, “We need immune systems, not band-aids.” Google provides completely serverless architecture in many GCP services; that’s part of what makes Google a pioneer in cloud security and innovation. Googlers work 24/7 (quite literally; there are insanely qualified Googlers on site at every data center they have at all hours of the day and night) to make sure Google customers have the security they need.
- Fun fact: Not even one percent (a single percent!) of the people working at Google have ever been inside their data centers. Now that’s security.
Machine learning is the new hot topic and technology in app development (and all of cloud computing, for that matter)
I trust many of you read about Google’s AI beating a human master of the game Go. It gets infinitely more fascinating: Google is now sharing their AI with customers of GCP. To big-picture this for you, here’s the gist: machine learning will affect workforce engagement and efficiency, and transform CX. When it comes to AI, we’ve already gone far beyond if and deep into when.
David Zuckerman of Wix.com (they allow users to create their own websites without any coding or design skills) spoke about a common conundrum for businesses: “Wouldn’t it be great to know more about users without asking them?” Enter machine learning, or — more specifically — Google Cloud Vision API. With the AI component of GCP, all images on Wix became searchable; they even had the ability to do face recognition across all platforms.
The main idea here is: We want to know more about our customers so we can provide them better, more personalized products and services. But oftentimes, asking the necessary questions results in fewer leads (or people leaving, if you bug them enough); AI will solve this problem by quite literally learning a user based on behavior… without having to ask them all the questions we so badly want to.
Sharing is today’s business
Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc. told us that the very concept of sharing has driven much of GCP’s success. He spoke about providing products and services to meet people’s existing needs; not needs we believe they will have. To that end, he said, “We’ve finally invented the internet operating system, but meeting you where you are.”
Thing is — sharing as a concept is not unique to Google (though they do it better than just about anyone). Appirio’s Virtuous Cycle taps into this same idea: empowering workers to engage and better serve customers. We talk about connected data and processes; no more silos. We talk about strategy; no more plugging in a cool tool without a plan in place. By helping your workers do their jobs more efficiently (with tools, training, and technology that also helps them enjoy their jobs and connect with coworkers) and allowing them to easily access and share all that valuable customer data, you’re also ensuring that customers have a better time. Those are the customers who return, and sing your praises to the rest of the internet.