The company began focusing on the Indian market three-four years ago, beginning with Google apps such as Gmail and Drive, and moved to small businesses to make it affordable for them, Singh told ET in an interview.
He added that Google expects to “at least double“ its business in the country every year, and stressed how much the company has invested in security to gain client confidence in its products.These include independent third-party assessments of its security and data protection practices.
As many as 600 organisations and over 10,000 employees are now using Google’s first party, paid services such as Gmail, said Singh, an Oracle veteran who worked with the company for 20 years before joining Google in 2010.
The fast pace of adoption of cloud in the five years since he has been at the helm left him surprised, he added.
As businesses around the world look to go digital, and increasingly adopt cloud technology , Google sees an opportunity to expand into a market dominated by mobile users who prefer the Android platform.
The growth of the startup ecosystem in India has also worked to Google for Work’s advantage. “While India started later because it was risk averse, the curve is much faster. (There’s) start-up energy, people are genuinely excited about building new models with technology,“ he said.
The platform is simple to use Google for Work can be deployed across Android devices from different manufacturers and exists as a work container separate from the user’s personal use apps and services. The company also sees that as a big differentiator compared to Microsoft Office 365, which is its biggest competitor in the first party services arena.
“Microsoft is entering a new space; they’re a great desktop-centric company .As you move to mobile first, cloud first, they’re not either of those things yet.They are investing a fair bit, but their product is truly yet to become that,“ he said.
He conceded, though, that Microsoft has an advantage in having a channel partner system built over the years, which helps the company reach out in larger numbers to small and medium businesses (SMB), a market Google is looking to tap.
“We are looking at both SMB and larger enterprises as cloud acceptability in India goes up. With India pricing going up, we are creating awareness in tier 2, tier 3 cities…that Google is available as an alternative,“ said Singh.
Google for Work has a dedicated sales force which includes sales, marketing, support and operations functions. It has signed on customers such as Hero Motors, Royal Enfield, Housing.com, Bombay Dyeing, Snapdeal and Welspun. In the United States, it counts big retailers such as Target and Costco among its clients.
In October last year, Google for Work announced a partnership with consultancy PwC, a relationship Singh considers a big win for the business.
“They tested every little piece of every little thing. They’re one of the most conservative companies in the world.They are auditors and they have their client data with Google,“ said Singh, adding that this trust comes from Google’s capability to provide a secure environment in the cloud.
He credits the move by big companies to move to the cloud to the understanding that they need to respond to competitive treats through innovation and increasingly fast-paced adoption of new technology.
“Digital business transformation is among the top one or two things (on the minds of big enterprises). They see these start-ups coming to eat their lunch…They get that they need to become a digitally mature business,“ said Singh. Among the challenges that Singh hopes to address in India is that of building a partner ecosystem, and competition from com panies including Microsoft and Amazon. “We have to bring people who can help people in that transition, that’s where companies like PwC come in,“ he added.