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Industry Solutions, Interview, Google Cloud Strategy, Diversity, Google Cloud Leadership, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

5 Takeaways from the C2C's Conversation with Google Cloud's Lori Mitchell-Keller

By C2C Team | January 21, 2021

This article was originally published on September 16, 2020.

Kicking off its Rockstar Conversations series, C2C welcomed Lori Mitchell-Keller to the virtual stage to discuss everything from her new role at Google Cloud, to her and her team's initiatives around industry strategy, as well as her work in the diversity, equity, and inclusion space.

Mitchell-Keller stepped into the role of global head of industry solutions at Google Cloud only four months ago but has had more than 25 years of experience in the technology ecosystem. She most recently spent 13 years at SAP, where she oversaw 20 industries such as financial services, health care, retail, among others. She is a powerhouse who is passionate about serving customers and meeting them where they're at. "It's really great to be part of a culture that's not only interested in how the company is doing, but also how society is doing."

I had a backstage pass to this event and rounded up five key takeaways I believe Google Cloud customers will want to know about.

  1. Google Cloud Focuses on Industries  

Earlier this year, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian said the company is highlighting its ability to target individual industries better than anyone else, including Amazon and Microsoft.

"Google has always been focused on industries," Mitchell-Keller stated. "But I will say that over the last 18 months that focus has really become much more pointed."

About a year ago, Google Cloud created an independent industry solutions group, and Mitchell-Keller and her team are tasked with doing three things: First and foremost to approach existing challenges with new ideas; second, to create a road map of solutions based on real-time customer experience data; and third, to continue that engagement with customers and better understand pain points so that they can develop exactly what customers need over the next couple of years.

  1. 5G Is on the Horizon for Google Cloud

Google Cloud is not the only player in the cloud technology application arena. There are plenty of companies working to solve industry challenges. But what makes Google Cloud stand out is its laser-focused strategy.

"We're not interested in solving problems that have already been solved well," Mitchell-Keller stated. "We're interested in using our very unique capabilities of processing massive amounts of data very quickly and using our world-class artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning capabilities to really solve problems that haven't been solved well, or that have not been solved at all."

Looking ahead, Google Cloud is focusing on 5G. "As an organization, we're investing in 5G heavily," Mitchell-Keller said. She added, "We're looking at how to use Google's AI or machine learning, or even Kubernetes or edge computing capabilities, to really deliver transformational industry-specific solutions to enterprises. My team, as a solutions organization, is thinking about 5G from the prism of how those enterprise solutions potentially expand and unlock better with a mobile ecosystem for new industries."

  1. Priority on Open-Source and Open-Data Solutions

While Google Cloud is focusing on delivering solutions for several industries including financial services; health care and life sciences; industrial and manufacturing; retail; and media and entertainment, telecommunications, and gaming, among others, it has also prioritized open-source and open-data initiatives.

Mitchell-Keller noted that a lot of what Google Cloud has developed is open-source software, including Kubernetes and TensorFlow, as well as its Android operating system and Chromium, which is the basis for the Chrome operating system. "The reason being is that we believe that those types of innovations are a win/win for society, and it benefits everyone," she said.

Google Cloud is also rich with data that others have shared with it, including images, YouTube videos, and much more. "All of that learning and all that data is available with search tools that we've built for the public to use against that data for particular research sets," Mitchell-Keller said. "Our ability to really provide the world with open source and open data allows us to have more richness of our products, and faster innovation in those products than our competitors."

  1. Google Cloud Is Saving a Seat at the Table for You

As C2C - an independent Google Cloud community - takes shape, there will be plenty of opportunities for Google Cloud customers to connect and exchange ideas as they discuss common challenges across industries. But Mitchell-Keller made clear that she and her team want to engage and learn how to better serve those customers as well.  

"The experiences that customers are having - whether successes or challenges - and to the extent they're able to share those with Google is huge to us," Mitchell-Keller stated. "That information can feed into our road map process so that we can continue to build solutions that will be ready when they need it."

Mitchell-Keller and her team are charged with determining the real-life background and needs for products and solutions Google Cloud builds. "Determining 'the what' is a process of understanding what is needed now and where the market is going over the next couple of years. All the pieces of that are influenced by what our customers are telling us."

C2C Chief Customer Officer Sean Chinski commented, "The C2C community is anchored around the same thing - connecting customers and solving similar problems."

  1. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Sets the Stage for Success

Every single organization today - big or small - is reassessing its workforce looking for efficiency, but more importantly, diversity in ideas of how to get there. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is a major topic of conversation across industries and something Mitchell-Keller is very passionate about.

"As I started in the technology field," Mitchell-Keller recalled, "I was usually the only female sitting at the conference table." She added, "There are lots of intelligent, capable women that should be sitting around the conference table with me. My desire is really to just make sure that we're looking at a very diverse slate of candidates."

She was very careful to note that the goal isn't to just go out and hire women, but rather to make sure that you have a diverse slate that includes multiple ethnicities, multiple races, multiple genders, and multiple abilities. "If the best candidate for the job is somebody that looks exactly like you, that's perfectly fine," she said. "But you just need to make sure that you're looking wide and broad, because diversity in organizations will open the door to a difference in opinions that you will get based upon the different experiences that those diverse candidates have had. That, in turn, will provide much more richness to the decisions that you're going to make."

As we look to solve complex problems in a very complex business landscape, diversity has never been more important. Mitchell-Keller is going to use her platform as a Google Cloud Rockstar to not only echo that message, but also to actually use it as the foundation for the work she does as global head of industry solutions at Google Cloud.

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