September 30, 2019

Don’t Be Evil: 7 Lessons from Google’s SaaS Business

Google was a pioneer in search, but the company has grown and pivoted well beyond that business line over the last 20+ years.


Google was a pioneer in search, but the company has grown and pivoted well beyond that business line over the last 20+ years.From search advertising like AdWords, to its Google Fiber ISP, to the Nest home thermostat, Alphabet (ie. the company formerly known as Google) has multiple lines of business driving its staggering, as of today, $843B market cap.SaaS is one of those divisions, and Google’s SaaS business is geared to help businesses innovate faster, scale smarter, and stay secure. Although it has fierce competition from Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure, the Google Cloud Platform has been widely adopted, especially since it launched the Google Partner Program in July 2018. Don’t Be Evil: 7 Lessons from Google’s SaaS Business

What Google’s SaaS Business Does

The Google Cloud Platform offers a wide range of products, from storage to AI and computing, to API management.As a general rule, the company’s SaaS offerings are diverse and meet the needs of businesses large and small, as well as individuals. It’s like everything else Google does int hat way. It scales no matter who you are. Gmail is a great email solution for individuals, but it also scales up to be an enterprise-class solution as part of the G Suite of cloud business services.Here’s what the company’s success in the space can teach the rest of us.

Be accessible.

Google offers many of its products at little or no cost to users. Google Analytics, for example, is free. (But, it provides the information needed to be successful to the paid Google Ad Words.)G-Suite, which includes Gmail, Docs, Drive and Calendar and has millions of users and runs from $0-$25 per month. Google also has other tools, which include Google Trends, Google Merchant Center, Google My Business, Google News, and Google FeedBurner. The list goes on. The takeaway? Google’s services are part of the fabric of our online identity, from our email accounts to our search histories. SaaS, from individual accounts to massive cloud storage, is just one arm of their business.

Know your competition.

In 2015, Google Cloud brought Diane Greene onboard to expand the division’s partnership network to better compete with Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. To do so, Google consolidated its cloud computing products under one unit, rebranded its workplace software products as G-Suite, and grew its data science arm.

Be useful.

Google Tag Manager, Google Analytics and G-Suite are the top three tools used by the 100 SaaS companies featured in the Forbes’s “Cloud 100,” according to a study by Drift. Google Tag Manager has a staggering 90% adoption among 2018 Cloud 100 companies. G Suite is the third most popular tool with 72% adoption among the Cloud 100. These products are easy to use, with one login and password across multiple applications. Because they are so widely used, they make Google’s other services more relevant for businesses as they grow.

Build partnerships.

In July 2018, Google announced a new Google Partners Program, aimed to facilitate improved access to more Google personnel and marketing funding. One perk for partners includes a new program that connects Google’s customer reliability engineering (GCRE) team with SaaS partners to keep their products up and running on the Google Cloud.As of November 2018, they had onboarded more than 100 companies.

Introduce new friends.

Perks in the partner program include a co-selling program that matches Google Cloud Platform (GCP) sales experts with SaaS partners to deliver GCP-run SaaS solutions to customers and an online community that facilitates partner networking, broadcasts updates from Google Cloud, and is a place where partners can share best practices with other community members. Google knows that no man is an island, and that by connecting its clients to each other, its clients can go further.

Help customers succeed.

According to Eyal Manor, Vice President of Engineering at Google Cloud, customers today are demanding a much more technical discussion about products and solutions, including security, scalability, automation, and AI. The partner program includes a new way for partners to receive marketing development funds (MDF) from Google based on how much use of GCP they drive with their SaaS products. Google even accompanies its customers on sales calls. For Google, the win isn’t landing the client, but in seeing that client succeed in their own business.

Continuously improve the technology.

As part of the launch of the new partner program, Google announced 19 new partners in five new specializations: security, cloud migration, location-based services, enterprise collaboration and education. For example, with the emergence of new AI services, Google gathers consumption insights and provides those back to customers.Google is today a leader in the SaaS space, but it seems to know that it’s only as strong as its next move. It knows that it gains momentum when its customers succeed, which gives the company insight into the what’s next of tech.