Early days for enterprise cloud adoption in India: Rick Harshman, Google Cloud

Early days for enterprise cloud adoption in India: Rick Harshman, Google Cloud
Google Cloud APAC managing director Richard Harshman
23 Mar, 2020

Last week, Google appointed former IBM country manager Karan Bajwa as managing director for its cloud business in India, filling the vacancy after a gap of over six months. Early this month, the Mountain View, California-based technology giant also announced the launch of a second cloud region in the country in Delhi after the first one in Mumbai back in 2007.

Bajwa’s appointment signals that Google Cloud is looking at the Indian enterprise cloud adoption market seriously while taking on market leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. 

Bajwa is a technology industry veteran, having spent nearly two decades in the sector, in senior executive roles across companies such as Microsoft and Cisco.

Read: Former IBM India chief Karan Bajwa slated to take charge of Google Cloud in India

In an interview with TechCircle following the appointment, Google Cloud Asia Pacific managing director Rick Harshman said that Bajwa was a targeted hire and that the company has seen strong momentum in its India business. 

Edited excerpts:

Why did it take Google six months to find an India head for the cloud business?  What does Karan Bajwa specifically bring to the table? 

In this instance, we made a targeted hire. We learned that Karan was available and determined he was a great talent so we decided to pursue his candidacy. India is a key market for Google Cloud and we have seen strong business momentum over the last 12 months. 

Karan will play a key role in further expanding our footprint, growing our partner ecosystem and working with our customers to accelerate their data-powered innovation. 

How aggressively is the company looking at the enterprise cloud market in India?

We have a clear strategy to lead across both the enterprise and SMB (small and medium business) segments in India. 


Under Karan’s leadership, we will continue to focus on our priority vertical industries such as financial services, healthcare, media and entertainment, telecommunications and public sector as well as working with digital natives. 

The aim is to deliver the solutions and services to help them solve their complex business and technology challenges.

Tell us about the scope and scale of Google Cloud’s business in India at present.

We don’t break down regional figures but Google Cloud globally ended 2019 at a run rate of more than $10 billion and revenues were up 53% year-on-year. 

Factors contributing to our growth in India include our investments in our people. For instance, globally we are looking to triple the size of our salesforce, and we’re hiring aggressively in India as well in response to strong customer demand.

Similarly, we are working with an expanded ecosystem of partners in India to serve the needs of this rapidly digitising economy. 


Our recent announcement with Airtel is an example. Many partners are also expanding their Google Cloud practice and building dedicated Google Cloud centres of excellence (CoEs) including Tech Mahindra, HCL, and Wipro to name a few.  

As for our technology infrastructure, earlier this month we shared our plans to open a Delhi cloud region, which will be our second cloud region in India since we launched our Mumbai region in 2017. We will expand our existing network of eight regions in the Asia Pacific and 22 regions globally today.  

Would you agree that you are already a bit late in the Indian enterprise cloud market?

With the large majority of workloads still running on-premise, it is still early days for the cloud and we have a differentiated approach. We are focused on five critical solutions, including AI and analytics, and we are making cloud technology simple and accessible for customers of all sizes in industries from financial services to retail. Enterprises are looking for an innovation partner and Google’s proven history in creatively solving big problems uniquely positions us with customers.

Karan Bajwa’s predecessor,  Nitin Bawankule, came from a background in advertising and marketing. Did that impede Google Cloud’s traction in this market?

We have made substantial headway in the Indian market through customers and partners including Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Indiamart, Hero Motocorp, ICICI Prudential, L&T Financial Services, LIC HFL, Manipal Hospitals, OYO Hotels and Homes and Truecaller. Wipro has chosen Google Cloud to power their digital transformation journey. 

Google Cloud also continues to invest in our cloud infrastructure locally and look forward to the upcoming launch of our Delhi cloud region in 2021.