Wireless Noodle Episode 18: Google's Trust Issue

This week's Wireless Noodle looks at the whether Google has an issue with enteprises trusting the longevity of its product portfolio, the promotion of Andy Jassy to be the new CEO at Amazon and an exploration of the Robotic Process Automation opportunity.

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An approximate transcript of the podcast is available below. 


Recently I was talking about Amazon, and particularly AWS. And now Andy Jassy has been promoted to head up Amazon in the wake of Jeff Bezos’s kinda retirement. 

Good appointment. Jassy has the right attitude of constant reinvention and improvement which will keep the Amazon juggernaut rolling. But the biggest challenges are likely to be political in the future. The sheer importance of Amazon to the supply chain in many countries has been demonstrated during Covid. Things coming like drone delivery and so forth. Not clear how well he’ll deal with those. Cloud computing isn’t particularly political at the moment, although critical national infra. Not clear how well Bezos would have dealt with them either but that’s by the by.

The interesting thing is the extent to which everyone is reading so much into this in terms of the rising importance of AWS within Amazon. It’s impt, of course. Good revenue growth and a successful business unit. But I think Jassy’s rise has been more to do with him doing a good job of running what is, to all intents and purposes, a separate business, very effectively. Does it change the emphasis Amazon should or will put on AWS. Not reason to believe it will. 

I won’t go over AWS stuff again. Today actually I want to focus on another of the hyperscalers, which is Google. 

For more on AWS's strategy see this blogpost 'AWS re:Invent: don’t make your users change, serve them as you find them' and report 'AWS re:Invent showcases a broad portfolio focused on solving industry needs'


Google Cloud has a trust issue. It keeps shutting down products. So anyone choosing their products for critical systems might be concerned.

Starting point: Google wants to be seen as a diversified tech company (in which it has mkt share of 1-2%) rather than just a search Ad company (for which it has, what?, 80% market share). Many of the wacky things that it does and investments it makes are aimed at portraying it as a diversified tech company. It doesn’t matter if they succeed or fail. 

We’ve seen numerous examples where it’s been allowed to fail. Back in earlier podcast I mentioned Revolv, whose smart home products were shut down by Google. Other examples are Stadia and Google Health and a bunch of others. Most recently it dumped Loon, it’s plan to provide connectivity with hot air balloons in the upper atmosphere. Sounds crazy. Might have worked. Didn’t really matter to Google if it did or not.  

But does allowing those companies or products or projects to fail have a negative effect on its brand image when it comes to its other business?

Clearly not to its core search business. But what about other enterprise services on which clients may come to rely. I wrote a report recently on google’s rather thin portfolio of products aimed at enterprise digital transformation. 

Those products are potentially critical systems though for any company adopting them. 

Would you as an enterprise trust in Google Cloud or using Google Workspace or smaller initiatives like Contact Center AI? Or would you think that maybe Google will get bored with those too?

Now maybe I’m over-thinking it. Why would it ditch cloud computing? Well, it probably won’t. Mostly because it’s rather inseparable from what it does as its core business. 

As with AWS who I talked about a few weeks ago, Google more or less stumbled on cloud computing as a by-product of its main line of business. Which means it’s pretty hard to extract that bit of the business from the wider business. So it’s likely cloud is safe.

But any enhancements layered on top of cloud? Well, who knows. Workspace (what used to be G-Suite) which is email, calendar, storage and so on – maybe. Look at Google Photos, which decided to start charging for storage about 15GB. Hard to say that it’s unreasonable to introduce a fee. But it all points to it being happy to chop and change offerings. 

And what about even more specialist capabilities which end up proving to be unprofitable. Companies investing lots of money to base their customer care on Google’s Contact Center AI. Well, that’s not core business for Google. Might they get bored? Maybe. Or its Looker acquisition for enterprise data analytics and visualisation. It’s very easy to see a company embedding those capabilities into its systems only for it to be switched off.

The point is that Google can’t have it both ways. If it’s a diversified technology conglomerate it has to expect that the way it treats some of its products will be perceived as how it might treat all of its products. I think Google has quite a bit of work to do to persuade the market that its products will be in for the long term.

Contrast this with AWS’s announcements at re:Invent. Announcements like long term support for FreeRTOS. Google Cloud needs some similar ways of reinforcing that it doesn’t have its parent’s predilection for switching things off. It could be by spinning out the company, but that REALLY doesn’t fit with Google’s approach of being as diversified as possible. 


Another thing from the Transforma Insights team since last we spoke is that we’ve published a new report looking at Robotic Process Automation (RPA). I’ve talked about it as a topic a little bit in the past. 

It’s based on automating assorted relatively mundane business process tasks that are undertaken manually on a PC. The task is observed by intelligent agent which replicates user behaviour (e.g. open email, download file x, extract data from file x, put into file y).

Typically useful at removing friction between different enterprises’ systems (e.g. invoice from company x being processed by company y).

Typically used for accounting and customer care and various admin tasks. 

Slightly more sophisticated than scripts and macros due to the observation and replication.

It’s a small but critical element of digital transformation, and one of the first ways that many enterprises will experience simple machine learning. The key reason for companies using RPA is clear: to automate IT-based tasks that would have previously been undertaken by a human. Typically, this is by way of bots that track and replicate human behaviour. The aim is to increase accuracy of processes, save costs and improve productivity.

Transforma Insights expects the total market spend on RPA will increase from USD1.2 billion in 2020 to USD13 billion in 2030. Market growth peaks in 2027, although total annual market value continues to grow throughout the forecast period. Gradually the requirement for RPA, which is a ‘brownfield’ technology, diminishes as alternative forms of native automation start to reduce the importance of retrofitting a solution to legacy practices. For instance, a process for handling incoming invoices may well be replaced by a fully automated system with no need to replicate a human’s activities.

In 2025 we expect ‘Professional, Scientific & Technical’ (which includes legal and accounting businesses), ‘Information & Communication’ and ‘Finance & Insurance’ to be the largest sectors. These three are, today, in the vanguard of adopters, using RPA to streamline core processes particularly related to document handling.

By 2030, the manufacturing sector will have overtaken the others to be the biggest sector, accounting for 19% of the entire market. This shift reflects mostly the size of the manufacturing sector (which accounts for 17% of the world’s economy), but also the increasing use of alternative automation capabilities for the early adopting sectors. It should be noted also that the use cases are overwhelmingly not specific to the vertical, for instance relating to invoicing, document processing or data management.

The most active region for RPA is North America, accounting for 35% of global spend in 2030 (down from over 50% in 2020). Europe will represent 26% of global spend in 2030. China accounts for only 17% of global spend in 2030, while Japan (with only a tenth the population) accounts for 9%. The dynamic is quite clear: markets with more entrenched low automation IT systems will have a greater requirement for brownfield RPA solutions.

As well as the forecasts, the report also examines key use cases (including accounting, administration, customer care and HR), the experience of companies that have adopted RPA (based on the analysis of hundreds of deployments from our Best Practice & Vendor Selection Database) and the likely evolution of the market.

The latter topic is critical. As noted above, RPA is typically applied only to legacy systems. As greater process automation is introduced to IT systems, the requirement for the retro-fit brownfield version inevitably diminishes. Similarly, there is only a limited number of processes to be replaced. Inevitably RPA will eventually become redundant. This necessitates a shift from the vendors to focus on tasks that require more creative problem solving through greater use of machine learning (variously know as Intelligent Automation or Cognitive RPA). 


Just a reminder: if you’re enjoying the podcast I’d be obliged if you could leave a review. It’s much appreciated. 

Next week I am expecting to unwrap a couple of pieces of interesting news that we’ve been directly involved with here at Transforma Insights. I’ll be able to share more then.  


Just a reminder: if you’re enjoying the podcast I’d be obliged if you could leave a review. It’s much appreciated. 

Next week I am expecting to unwrap a couple of pieces of interesting news that we’ve been directly involved with here at Transforma Insights. I’ll be able to share more then.  

Links to some of the research that I’ve refered to in this week’s show, as well as a transcript of the recording, will be available on the podcast website at WirelessNoodle.com

Thank you for listening to The Wireless Noodle. If you would like to learn more about the research that I do on IoT, AI and more, you can follow me on Twitter at MattyHatton and you can check out TransformaInsights.com

Thanks for joining me. I’ve been Matt Hatton and you’ve been listening to the Wireless Noodle.