Servian wins Google Cloud 2019 Services Partner of the Year Award for Asia Pacific: A reflection on our success

By Andrew Pym, Associate Partner, Head of Google Cloud Practice

April 7th, 2020

With everything going on right now, some good news is a welcome distraction. Today (April 7, 2020 AEST) is a big day for Servian, especially for us in the Google Cloud practice. After a number of years of hard work, Servian has been recognised as the 2019 Google Cloud Services Partner of the Year for Asia Pacific. Needless to say, we are absolutely chuffed.

Google Cloud Partner of the Year

Recognition is nice, especially when there have been years of focus growing the practice into what it is today — a team dedicated to training and developing our people plus delivering and succeeding for our customers. And just as it’s nice for us to be recognised, I’d like to recognise all of the things that got us here today.

Our passionate people

As with all consulting, partnerships and teams, it starts and ends with the people. And when it comes to people, I think Servian’s are second to none. I have no doubt that our culture and dedication to training gave us a leg up to win this award — it’s a mindset that permeates our entire organisation, resulting in a passionate pool of consultants, eager to learn and share ideas.

There is also the commitment from a number of our staff to develop the Google tech community locally. Outside of work commitments, the team contributes to developing the Google Developer Groups (GDG) for Google Cloud in Melbourne and Sydney. Our people do their best to grow the communities, with the understanding that it works best when consultants are in the background and customers are in the foreground, sharing experiences.

The opportunity to grow

As our Servian Google Cloud Academy (our internal training program for GCP) has matured, we created different learning paths for different learning styles. We welcomed new starters with a set of pathways specific to them and leaders put in the time and effort to bulk up our capability. Our training and certification efforts have now established their own momentum — not only do we have more certified Google Cloud professionals than any other company in ANZ, but we also have an amazing number of consultants with multiple certifications. It’s something that we’re truly proud of.

And share ideas

Servian’s Medium publication is where our engineers/consultants contribute their ideas, opinions and insights to a wider audience and community. We have had contributors to a wide range of open source projects including Kubernetes (GKE), Apache Beam (Cloud Dataflow) and Airflow (Cloud Composer). But we are particularly proud of the open source BigQuery analyzer tool led by Servian’s Chris Tippett, which has been used by several of our customers for production workloads.

Dedication to delivery

And of course, the work for our customers. In banking, we have had teams working on large data platforms in retail for customer insights, as well as data science in institutional and customer areas of banks. We worked closely with Google Cloud, building secure banking environments, supporting security testing (we needed to let the penetration testers in, as they couldn’t get in) and more recently, executing the security testing. We have also been supporting banks through their assurance processes with regulators and internal risk while also building out hybrid cloud Kubernetes environments. So, in summary, working across the large banks, the neo-banks and the mid-tier players.

In retail, there has been building data platforms to pool data from different sources to better understand customer flows, trends and transactions. Using machine learning to look at pricing and stock optimisations. Leveraging streaming data to better inform business and customers of what is happening at a detailed level, in near real time. Building out data pipelines to understand digital customer and sales behaviour. For companies with a physical retail presence, our Visual Cortex video analytics solution has shown customer pathing behaviour to help influence retail layouts.

Across retail and other industries with a retail front end, our marketing analytics capabilities keep evolving. We see a clear trend as marketers and customer experience stakeholders come to understand that vanity metrics on website drop-offs are not enough. We have been solving these needs with our machine learning expertise to analyse digital activity to create behavioural-driven segments. Generating and tying these insights back to transactional outcomes in a timely fashion is a true differentiator.

In media, we have done some pretty awesome stuff. Locking down environments to support rendering pipelines which leverage Google Cloud for burst compute so our customer can supply animation content to Netflix. Working with FoxSports and evolving Monty was also a highlight.

An adjacent area is sports betting. The data and machine learning maturity of these companies is truly impressive. Their discipline around separation of concerns is absolute.

There has also been work for smaller companies and even start-ups. Not many green fields opportunities come up, but Real Yeti — where we helped design and deliver a Property Tech solution (think eBay meets — was an amazing opportunity for many of our full stack developers to work in a cloud native way, moving at light speed to rapidly build and iterate.

Our teams have worked with streaming telemetry from vehicles, IoT and other data. We have been using Google Cloud ML APIs to turn unstructured data such as text, audio and video into sentiment analysis, entity extraction or transcription text for analysis.

We’ve turned chatbots into an art form, creating engaging conversational experiences. Ash at Australian Super and bots across retail, airlines and telcos are all benefitting from our frameworks which leverage our UX design process and use a dependable, testable and reliable deployment process. Our work at Australian Super, like many of our clients, started with a bot but expanded to laying down enterprise foundations, building data platforms, and setting up hybrid app-dev platforms.

Wrapping up

We took the time, and made the effort to have Google Cloud review and approve of our work, gaining four specialisations across Application Development, Data & Analytics, Marketing Analytics and Machine Learning. None of these were easy. Some took an amazing amount of effort.

So, a big thank you to everyone who has been part of the journey. Both on the Servian and Google Cloud teams — there are quite literally too many to list. But also, thank you to our customers for the continued opportunity to work with you, for believing in our expertise, our approach and for trusting us within each of your own cloud journeys.

To those who have worked with us, but have moved on, your contributions have not been forgotten either. We do revel in the fact that Servian or one of our alumni is in pretty much every major Google Cloud account in Australia.

So finally, again, a big thank you to the team, and looking forward to working with everyone with the challenges ahead of us.