Belfast Google Innovation Lab urges firms to cut costs with better technology
Large businesses could cut costs by 70% through better technology, a director at Google has said.
Europe's first Google Innovation Lab has been opened in Belfast, aimed at encouraging more firms to use the company's software products.
The joint venture with professional services consultants PwC promotes cloud computing and mobile working.
Murali Sitaram, Google's director of global partner strategy, said research shows medium to large firms which embrace change could see a 70% cost reduction through using today's technologies.
He added: "Still only 1-2% of the world's workloads have moved to the cloud in any form, especially the public.
"Over the next 10 years much of this will move to a cloud."
He said the Lab is designed to create a space for customers to discuss their problems, like cyber security, and find solutions.
The hub will primarily serve northern Europe, including the UK. PwC has been growing rapidly in Belfast and is only 100 miles from Google's European headquarters in Dublin.
Mr Sitaram added: "We think it is a unique place."
He said technology users had been brought up on certain norms which do not make sense any more.
"Why do we have to save something, why does the world just not know what we intend?"
He noted technology is better at home and t he aim is to transfer that to the workplace and solve problems cheaper, better and faster.
"Sadly we don't use those technologies at work. They are constrained by regulatory practices, they are constrained by the IT resources and skill sets, they are constrained by the ability to spend money, to move into this modern world, and I think that just should not be the case anymore and that is our quest.
"The one thing that Google is not good at is trying to understand how various sectors of industries work and that is where PwC come in.
"PwC have the greatest relationships with people like you, they understand your business, they have been with you for years, maybe decades, and they understand what makes you tick.
"If we can combine those thoughts and perspectives with our ability to deliver technology and help your businesses by understanding the issues you face, by helping you attract the best talent, by helping people work from anywhere, t here should be no barriers, you should be able to access any technology, any knowledge, any specifics about your company or any others anywhere."
The base will be similar to operations in New York and Sydney.
Paul Terrington, PwC regional chairman in Northern Ireland, said: "The decision to site the first PwC and Google Innovation Lab in Belfast is a huge vote of confidence in Northern Ireland as a location and PwC as a partner."