When Karan Bajwa took charge as managing director of Google Cloud India in February, he brought with him the relationships he had developed with the enterprise community over his nearly 25-year-old career in the technology sector, and a knack for forging ties with the public sector.
The cloud division of the Mountain View, California headquartered company has been on an aggressive path the past year to claim a larger share of the cloud market, currently dominated by rivals such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft, Oracle and IBM.
The unit has been hiring top executives across the globe, expanding its cloud engineering team, accelerating new data centre investments and building channel partnerships to reach more customers.
Acquiring larger enterprise customers has been its focal point, an area it lags behind when compared to its US competitors. In fact, the company’s revenue from the cloud computing business was $9 billion for the calendar year 2019, significantly lower than its rivals. Both AWS and Microsoft Azure reported about $9 billion in revenues for the December 2019 quarter alone.
Google Cloud looks to leverage Bajwa’s experience and his “proven track record of building and growing successful enterprise businesses” to aid its next phase of growth, Rick Harshman, managing director for Google Cloud in the Asia Pacific region, said at the time of Bajwa’s appointment.
At Google Cloud, Bajwa is responsible for driving all revenue and go-to-market operations for the unit’s solutions portfolio, which includes Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and G Suite. The field sales, partner and customer engineering organisations in India also report to him.
An electronics and communications engineer, Ludhiana-born Bajwa has worked with companies such as Microsoft, IBM and Cisco in the past two decades.
In his first stint at IBM, he headed its networking business for Southeast Asia, before returning to the firm almost a decade later in 2016. As the head of its India operations, he steered the firm during a period of great change in the wider marketplace. He was responsible for growing its mid-market business, helping clients with digital transformation and cloud journeys.
He joined Microsoft in 2007 to serve as the general manager for the company’s public sector and enterprise division, and went on to become the managing director for the software giant’s India business in 2013.
He spent less than two years at technology conglomerate Cisco, where he served as its vice president and led the public sector business.
Having headed a software services firm and led a product company’s India operations, Bajwa said he wanted to take up a high-growth opportunity at a platform company -- an opportunity that Google Cloud offered.
“It (Google) checked all the right boxes for me,” Bajwa said in a recent interview with TechCircle.
A recent GCP and Boston Consulting Group report showed that public cloud deployments could contribute nearly $100 billion to India’s GDP by 2023.
“Currently, only 20-25% of India’s mission-critical work is done on cloud and this gives the company a great opportunity to grow despite stiff competition in the market,” Bajwa said.
Google has made some big hires in the country lately. This includes former NetApp executive Anil Valluri, who has been appointed the senior director of India operations, and former Microsoft executive Anil Bhansali, who is now the company’s vice president of engineering in the country.
Additionally, Google announced in March that it would establish its second India cloud region in Delhi by 2021, three years after the first one was set up in Mumbai.