With Amazon and Microsoft gobbling up large portions of the share on the cloud market, Google Cloud is playing catch-up.
Still, since former Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian took the reins as Google Cloud CEO, it's expanded on its ambitions.
It's hired a new leader, Robert Enslin from SAP, to head sales, customer operations, and partnerships. At the time of its last earnings call in July, Google revealed that its cloud business has an annual revenue run rate of $8 billion, even as Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google Cloud plans to triple its sales force in the next few years.
On top of that, Google Cloud recently made changes in its sales organization to go after bigger customers and reward high-performing sales employees. It's even making some big acquisitions, such as its $2.6 billion acquisition of data analytics startup Looker.
Google Cloud is also releasing more products to cater to enterprises. For example, it launched Anthos, a hybrid cloud product – meaning it allows customers to run their applications and data not only on Google Cloud, but also on private data centers. Notably, it can even run on rival clouds – a strategy Kurian reportedly tried to execute at Oracle. With Anthos, Google Cloud beat Amazon to launching a generally available hybrid cloud product.
"Today, Google's enterprise division is very different than it was just a few years ago as it continues to change its attitude toward understanding customer needs and 'meeting the customer where the customer is,' David Smith, distinguished VP analyst at Gartner, wrote. "New bold leadership at Google Cloud is allowing more focus on opportunities that leverage synergies between its cloud business and advertising and marketing."
Still, experts say Google Cloud is playing up its strengths. Some of its advantages, customers say, are its innovation. Another is its deep roots in Kubernetes, a cloud project for running large scale applications that was started by Google engineers. It's also partnering with smaller companies that built their business around open source software.
Jeb Su, vice president of advanced technologies at Atherton Technology Research, says it's possible Google Cloud will hit $18-20 billion in annual revenue by 2020.
"I think what Thomas Kurian and his team realize is that it's going to be hard to beat AWS and Azure on the public cloud and public infrastructure," Su told Business Insider. "However, they realize that even before he got into Google, there are great technologies…That's all because of Google's expertise in crawling the web and dealing with this massive scale of data so Google is very strong in that area. They're positioning Google's cloud offering in terms of focused industry specific solutions."
As Google Cloud aims to become a larger cloud player, these are the 12 executives who are leading the charge.