Google Cloud will make its cloud software work way better with Microsoft Office as part of a new sales strategy to win customers over slowly, not all at once
- Google will start pitching its G Suite productivity software at individual departments within a company, meaning a customer can start using it a little bit at a time rather than all at once, according to sources familiar.
- As part of this strategy, Google Cloud will begin to position G Suite as coexisting with the dominant Microsoft Office and other business apps like Slack and Cisco's WebEx, rather than replacing them outright.
- It's a way to help Google win bigger deals and possibly convert customers from Microsoft Office to its own software over time, under the auspices of new G Suite boss Javier Soltero.
- It also ties in with a new business messaging app that Google is working on: The new app will also integrate with other outside services, making G Suite a friend, not foe, to erstwhile competitors like Microsoft Office.
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Google Cloud is taking a new approach to getting customers to buy in to G Suite, its suite of productivity software including business versions of Gmail, Google Drive, and Google Docs. Rather than appeal to customers to drop their existing Microsoft Office subscriptions, G Suite will adopt a new sales strategy that emphasizes coexistence.
More specifically, Google Cloud will start pitching G Suite specifically at individual departments of a company, meaning that a customer doesn't have to switch over to the suite entirely across the whole organization to take advantage of it, according to three people familiar with the strategy.
Two people familiar with the matter said that this strategy could kick off in earnest as soon as April, which would be around the time of the annual Google Cloud Next customer conference.
In October, Google hired Javier Soltero, former head of strategy for Microsoft Office itself, to head up G Suite amid CEO Thomas Kurian's broader push to bring Google Cloud deeper into the enterprise market. Google's G Suite is widely considered to lag behind Microsoft Office, which is something of a standard in companies of all shapes and sizes.
"We're happy to hear from Kurian that they have the intention to make G Suite applicable to a department level," said Wim Los, senior VP at systems integrator Atos, an executive helping to manage its relationship with Google Cloud.
Google Cloud declined to comment on this story.
Selling it at a department level is a "Trojan-horse approach" to attract more customers to G Suite by making it seem like less of a commitment, according to one person. The eventual goal, the people said, is to encourage companies to slowly switch over from the far more popular Microsoft Office suite over time, rather than all at once.
This strategy is similar to that of relatively young enterprise cloud software companies like Zoom and Slack, which built up their customer base and grew into publicly-traded companies by appealing to individual teams, with an eye towards helping them expand to the whole business.
As part of this strategy, Google Cloud is also doubling down on integrations between G Suite and outside apps, such that customers can still get value from it even if they use rival services like Slack, Cisco's WebEx, or even Microsoft Office. These integrations would build on existing ones that allow Google Docs to work with Microsoft Office documents, and for Gmail to sync with Microsoft Outlook.
Google is also creating a new communications app that allows people to access email, chat, meetings, documents, and calendar features in one app, as Business Insider and the Information previously reported. This new app supports this initiative to sell G Suite at the department level and play nicely with Microsoft Office, a source says.
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