CenturyLink’s Dalvi explains expanded Google Cloud partnership benefits for enterprises
As the lines between IT and telecoms services provision continue to blur, Mahesh Dalvi, the vice president of global IT solutions at managed services at CenturyLink, tells George Malim how service providers are moving way beyond connectivity to provide IT services and consulting that support customers’ digital transformations. Partnerships with specialists are a vital enabler of this.
Google Cloud is one of the companies CenturyLink has partnered with and the communications service provider (CSP) has just announced an expansion of its existing partnership which will see it join the Google Cloud partner programme to provide implementation, sales and technical support to enterprises. The expanded partnership builds on the continued development of CenturyLink’s work with Google Cloud, which includes connectivity through Google Cloud Partner Interconnect, CenturyLink’s global broadcast fibre network, Vyvx Cloud Connect’s access to the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for high-quality, high-bandwidth video feeds, and CenturyLink’s new Google Cloud centre of excellence, as well as CenturyLink’s Cloud Connect Solutions for Google Cloud.
Dalvi sees the expanded partnership as means for CenturyLink to grow its enterprise offering by bundling Google Cloud with its existing IT propositions. “The expanded partnership is about combining the Google Cloud platform with our consulting offerings for cloud enablement, migration services, SAP, big data and others,” he explains. “We are excited to offer Google Cloud customers our expertise in IT services to help them achieve their cloud goals. This is a commitment over and above cloud connections.”
Dalvi added that, by joining the Google Cloud Partner Program, CenturyLink will provide implementation, sales and technical support to enterprises as they accelerate innovation with cloud solutions. This reinforces CenturyLink’s support for GCP, building on the June 2018 announcement of CenturyLink’s capability to connect customers to Google Cloud globally via Google Cloud Partner Interconnect.
The offerings are available to all CenturyLink enterprise customers, regardless of their size and Dalvi sees an opportunity to provide large enterprise-grade services to small and medium-sized businesses, provided they are utilising cloud solutions. “[These offerings are applicable to] all small, medium and large enterprises that are utilising cloud,” he confirms. “We want to provide the best execution venue for customers based on their current and future needs. SMBs can benefit from us being a one-stop-shop for all of their cloud, networking and IT services.”
Achieving this naturally involves multiple partnerships with different providers to access required capabilities and to provide choice to customers. Dalvi acknowledges this and points out the company already has partnerships with other providers. “There’s no exclusivity,” he says. “We have similar parnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS), IBM and others for their cloud solutions as well. We’re agnostic in this respect.”
This openness and willingness to partner with multiple organisations is symptomatic of CSPs’ awareness of the need for collaboration with multiple parties to support the needs of their enterprise customers and to move up the value chain from the provision of connectivity services. However, this is a two-way street and IT providers increasingly identify CSPs as effective channels to market for their services.
This need to continue building the ecosystem was emphasised by Carolee Gearhart, the vice president of worldwide channel sales at Google, at the time of the announcement. “Our work with CenturyLink is a prime example of our fast-growing cloud ecosystem and Google Cloud’s commitment to support the technology needs of enterprises today,” she said. “We look forward to continuing to expand our partnership with CenturyLink, which brings a wealth of expertise in SAP consulting, big data analytics and secure private networking to public and hybrid cloud workloads.”
From a CenturyLink perspective, Dalvi sees the bundling of cloud and IT services as a means to create differentiation and attract and retain its network customers. However, it’s not simply a protective measure. Dalvi sees the migration to cloud in general as providing an opportunity for CenturyLink to put forward offerings for enterprises that encompass digital transformation and virtualisation and extend far beyond traditional communications to enterprises.
“We are the first North American network services provider to achieve this designation and we believe the strength of our network is bolstered by our IT services offering in this regard,” he says. “More enterprises today need implementation and ongoing expertise in order to meet their transformation goals.”
The expanded Google Cloud partnership demonstrates that the CSP is not just talking about further enterprise IT opportunities but actively developing its business here. Its portfolio, called CenturyLink Cloud Connect Solutions for Google Cloud, has the potential to provide organisations with enterprise-grade, dedicated connectivity so they can move both private and public workloads from offices and data centres on their wide area networks (WAN) to the Google Cloud Platform in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
Expect more of these types of collaborations to be announced as CSPs look to target their enterprise customer bases with comprehensive portfolios of IT and cloud technologies.