Google Cloud’s UK&I Managing Director, Pip White

April 2021 Life in the channel: Google Cloud’s Pip White

Google Cloud’s UK&I Managing Director, Pip White on what life is like up in Google Cloud?

March 8th was International Women’s Day, so we wanted to highlight the achievements of women by speaking with a top female leader in the channel so we had a chat with Google Cloud’s UK&I Managing Director, Pip White to find out about her success as a female in the tech channel.

What is your your professional background?
I’ve enjoyed over 20 years of working in the technology industry in sales and GM leadership roles. I started out at Hewlett-Packard where, over the course of thirteen+ years, I held various leadership positions across sales, new business and marketing within multiple market segments and industries including enterprise, SMB, public sector, financial services and retail.

I moved to Salesforce early 2018 where I stayed for almost three years. It was great. I learned a lot and worked with some amazing people. Both positions gave me the experience and opportunity to lead large 400+ people sales organisations within the UK and Ireland, Europe, North America, Middle East & Africa. In turn, allowing me to develop a deep expertise in managing client relations within small to medium businesses, through to large global enterprises.

My expertise is in high growth and fast paced technology environments, which require strong alignment across multiple functions and a growth mindset. Turning around culture, strong people leadership, high growth and transformation programmes are where I do best!

I joined the Google Cloud team in September, when the UK was in the midst of a lockdown, and what a whirlwind it’s been. I feel I joined Google Cloud at a time when there’s nothing but opportunity, so I’m excited to be here.

What is your role and what does it involve within Google Cloud?
At Google Cloud I lead the UK and Ireland (UK&I) business, overseeing the ongoing development of our go-to-market sales operations across the region. A key focus is also leading the businesses sales strategy across the UK&I, a market which has seen a number of recent high-profile customer wins, such as Lloyds Banking Group, Just Eat, The Department for Transport and Vodafone.

The UK&I is similar to the rest of the world in that the pandemic has driven businesses to embrace digital transformation and collaboration with working from home. It’s impacting our customers in a variety of different ways, depending on the industry, whether it’s directly impacted (hospitals, government departments) or needing to address dramatic shifts in consumer behaviour (retailers, financial services, media companies). And of course there are those who had to rapidly enable work-from-home scenarios, or those worried about business continuity and uptime of their mission-critical systems.

Just like them we’re focusing on being helpful to our customers. A lot of companies are now shifting their services towards adapting in real time to what their customers need. This is a growing trend, whether they are just starting to make the leap to the cloud, or are further along in their journeys and are now creating ambitious new business models based on AI/ML, data analytics, and more.

How are you involved in International Women’s Day?
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is #ChooseToChallenge and that’s exactly what we do here at Google Cloud. We were one of the first companies to publish data publicly in our Diversity Annual Report – in 2014 – and this helped start the conversation of diversity in tech. We need a workforce that’s representative of our users, and a workplace that creates a sense of belonging for everyone.

What’s important for us is that we don’t shed a light on diversity and inclusion solely around awareness days like IWD. Our efforts are global and in place in every country we operate in, throughout the year.

Last year we launched “#ItsUpToMe” in over 30 offices worldwide, a campaign to energise employees to take an allyship role in their communities by understanding the experiences of others, modelling inclusive behaviours, and sharing their personal commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion in the region. We also brought together women from Black communities across EMEA for a summit to share experiences, address the group’s unique opportunities and challenges, and support personal and professional enrichment.

For International Women’s Day this year, I hosted an executive roundtable with top FA talent to explore key themes around diversity, equity and inclusion, leadership, mentorship, IAR and representation. Internally at Google, the same women joined me for a ‘Talks at Google’ style fireside chat/panel via Livestream that employees were able to drop into. I also took part in an internal event that Deloitte’s Women in Technology group organised where I spoke about advancing your tech career in the new normal and the next normal.

What were some of the achievements of women that were recognised on the day?
As part of our executive roundtable and internal fireside chat, we highlighted the achievements of Baroness Sue Campbell, former chair of UK Sport and current director of Women’s Football at the Football Association (FA).

We were also joined by Edleen John, who’s the FA’s diversity and inclusion director, and responsible for the international and corporate affairs strategy across the FA portfolio. Edleen has successfully delivered transformational strategies across a number of high-profile organisations, and has a driving commitment to inclusion and diversity, so it was great to have her on the panel.

By running the event what did the company hope to achieve?
We’ve taken concrete actions to steadily grow a more representative workforce, launching programmes that support our communities, and building products that better serve all of our users. Our diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments last year yielded progress in key areas, including leadership representation for underrepresented groups. As Google continues to grow, we have a responsibility to scale our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and increase pathways to tech in the cities, sites, and countries Google calls home.

Leaders make decisions that affect the products we build, the people we serve, and the employees and culture of our company. Diverse leadership teams make better decisions, and in turn build a more helpful Google for everyone.

We offer targeted career development programmes, which provide coaching, community-building, mentorship, and advocacy to help women in leadership roles foster relationships with senior leaders and advance their careers.

Representation of women in leadership roles globally at Google is at the highest rate ever, growing at the same pace as last year. Representation of Googlers from Latinx communities in leadership also increased in the U.S.

How can others in the channel get involved?
Like Google Cloud, we encourage our partners and other companies in the channel to focus on building workforces that better represent its users and our world, while ensuring that company cultures make employees feel like they belong, all year round. Areas of hiring and retaining talented professionals, from underrepresented groups needs to be a key focus, as does the channel’s work to understand the identities, intersectionalities, and experiences of employees worldwide.

More broadly, the channel needs to look at investments it can make to strengthen the diverse communities both within and outside of the industry. We have just announced Europe’s first $2M Black Founders Fund in October to support Google’s racial equity commitments. Last week, we continued the journey to support Black Founders with the official launch of the application in Europe.

While there has been progress in the last few years, we’re still a way off where we need to be. Both Google and others need to use data-informed efforts to support diversity, equity and inclusion. Equality needs to be top of the agenda and driven by C-suite professionals themselves.

Where do you see the future of the Cloud going, what can we expect more of?
Unsurprisingly, this year has seen businesses of all sizes tackle, and embrace, an ever-evolving workplace, and businesses will need to remain agile, responsive, and able to adapt to survive what’s next. A renewed focus will be placed on products like Google Cloud’s Anthos, designed specifically to enhance employee and customer experiences, reduce costs, increase operational efficiencies and boost revenue. To enable multicloud deployments, build new environments and modernise old ones, the open-source community will dial-up investment in container and serverless functions, creating a spike in global demand.

Digital and remote strategies will become core to business operations and AI will be critical to improving the efficiency, speed of cloud computing and making this happen. Just as the banking industry has dialled up AI investment to enable contactless payments, cashless money transfer systems, and remote transactions. Industries who are not already using AI will start to experiment with technology to create tailored experiences, from anywhere.

To that end, we announced that our first of our hybrid AI offerings, Speech-to-Text On-Prem, is now generally available on Google Cloud’s Anthos. By bringing AI on-premise, customers can now run AI workloads near their data, all while keeping them safe. Hybrid AI simplifies the development process by providing easy access to best-in-class AI technology on-premise.

How has business been over the past 12 months?
We’ve obviously been investing aggressively, given the substantial market opportunity we see. Companies across the UK&I see the innovation, value and growth opportunities that come from digitising with Google Cloud. Customers like Ford, Lloyds Banking Group and digital natives like Revolut are all choosing Google Cloud as their technology partner of the future.

For example, we are on track to meet our near-term goal of tripling the size of the Cloud direct sales force and have greatly expanded the partner channel. We’ve also substantially improved our product offering, while rationalising our approach to focus on our six key industry verticals.

And we’ve invested in expanding our network of locations for compute capacity to support Cloud.

We will continue making disciplined investments to scale the business and improve profitability.

Is a multicloud strategy really the best approach for organisations?
We were the first major cloud provider to launch an entirely software-based hybrid and multicloud platform (Anthos), and customers continue to ask for multicloud environments. A multicloud strategy is important as it gives companies the freedom to use the best possible cloud for each workload. Naturally, different vendors will innovate in different areas. Businesses taking a multicloud approach can cherry-pick the solutions that best meet their business needs as soon as they become available, rather than having to wait for another vendor to catch up. Avoiding vendor lock in, increased agility, more efficient costs and the promise of each provider’s best solutions are all compelling arguments in favour of multicloud.

But there can be challenges for businesses when attempting to deploy multicloud strategies. Perhaps the biggest cause for hesitation around multicloud adoption is the complexity of deploying more than one cloud platform, and is particularly difficult to do without hindering productivity or innovation. But open source technologies like Kubernetes can aid the orchestration of containers to limit disruption with each new implementation and enable development teams to efficiently move workloads around, as well as to be shielded from any change of underlying physical infrastructure.

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