CloudBlue’s first ever all-virtual Innovator’s Forum came to a close on October 14. While it’s always bitter-sweet to close out our annual marquee event, this year’s conference brought a special gratification.
Our CloudBlue team, a speaking lineup of leading cloud experts from companies like Microsoft, Travelocity, and Forrester, and the over 1,000 cloud industry professionals in attendance, united to take the Innovator’s Forum virtual for the first time in its 15-year history, and did so to brilliant success.
The third and final day of the forum drove home the importance of preparing ourselves and our businesses for digital disruption. Adopting cloud-native business models, optimizing for success in ecosystems, digitizing go-to-market strategies and focusing on customer experience will be keys to success in an accelerated digital economy.
Here are a few additional takeaways from the final day.
Scaling with Technology in the Era of Digital Economy
During the first few months of the pandemic, the digital economy accelerated tremendously as companies moved operations online. Rony Lerner, VP of Global Engineering at Ingram Micro Cloud, told the audience that Microsoft Teams had added 31 million new active subscribers from March to April, while Zoom saw a 355% growth rate year over year in Q2.
The key to scaling, Rony explained, is adopting cloud-native models, including PaaS, IaaS and SaaS. Companies must also adopt an API-first approach to scaling. APIs ease customer and subscription additions, simplify ordering and fulfillment, and accelerate data reporting. That’s probably why we saw 83% of customers shift to an API-first approach since the start of the pandemic.
Develop a Winning Go-To-Market Strategy
Forced lockdowns have impacted go-to-market strategies for technology vendors. Instead of face-to-face interactions, vendors are increasingly turning to cloud service providers (CSPs) to help them deploy software to their customers, fast. This influx of vendors has overwhelmed some CSPs.
Aleksander Cvetkovski, Global Director, Go-to-Market and Acceleration Services at CloudBlue, announced that CloudBlue had developed a new Go-To-Market Fast Track Program that digitizes and speeds up the end-to-end go-to-market (GTM) launch for vendors and CSPs. We’re extremely excited for the program, which will help vendors and CSPs digitize GTM processes, reduce time to market and costs, and accelerate time-to-revenue by 50% for CSPs with targeted campaign sprints.
He was joined by Jay McGrath, Global Channel Lead at Acronis, who told the audience how Acronis has been partnering with CloudBlue to quickly and efficiently deploy the company’s cyber security products to market. He also showed how some techniques Acronis uses with its Fortune 1,000 clients can be applied to SMBs.
CloudBlue Commerce Roadmap: How to Launch Next-Level Growth
Anton Konkov, Senior Manager of Product Management at CloudBlue, gave attendees a glimpse into what’s next for CloudBlue Commerce, a powerful platform for launching marketplaces.
In the coming months, CloudBlue Commerce customers can look forward to integrations with ConnectWise, Data Warehouse, Autotask and more; improved APIs for subscription, account, order and reports management; a revamped marketplace performance dashboard and much more.
While we don’t have this roadmap session available on demand, you can reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or your Customer Success Manager for a one-to-one preview.
Delivering the Digitally Connected Ecosystem
Ecosystems are booming. McKinsey recently reported that 70% of customers value ecosystem offerings and the consultancy predicted that $9.4 trillion in sales will flow through ecosystems in the B2B services sector alone by 2025. Ecosystems allow companies to expand into new markets and also provide core customers new features by bundling products with ecosystem partners.
They also present many complexities that need to be addressed to scale. Companies often have trouble with visibility of their products in ecosystems, discovering the right ecosystem for their products, as well as integration, monetization and enablement.
Darek Tasak, Executive Director of Strategy & Commercial Operations at CloudBlue, explained how CloudBlue Connect helps to manage these complexities by orchestrating ecosystems and managing their digital supply streams.
Why Can We Put a Man on the Moon, but Not Thwart Ransomware?
Cybersecurity expert Nir Gaist, who is also the Founder & CTO of Nyotron, showed the audience different techniques used by malicious hackers to deploy ransomware into systems.
An ethical hacker who wrote the cybersecurity curriculum for the Israeali Ministry of Education, Nir covered some of the most common ransomware defense techniques that so far have been unable to thwart a dark industry that cost U.S. companies an estimated $7.5 billion in 2019.
It was fun to see a live demo of Nyotron, an automatic Endpoint Detection and Response (EDR) solution, and an inside look from Nir into how the tool detects malware and prevents damage to endpoints in real-time.
Cracking the Code: Translating this Week’s Strategies into Action
Lincoln Lincoln, VP of Global Sales at CloudBlue and Mark Rice, GM, Services Partners, Cloud Leader at Microsoft summed up the key learnings from the three-day Innovators Virtual Forum, and explained how the over 1,000 audience members in attendance can implement these learning in their 2021 strategies.
Their first take away for vendors and providers is that customer experience (CX) is critical for growth. Companies must connect with customers on a human level, while simultaneously leveraging technology to expand features and capabilities to improve experiences.
Going even further, the experts’ second take away urged companies to advance their own digital maturity. You must focus on digital experiences, as they’ve rapidly gained importance during the pandemic, designing digital commerce for immediacy and convenience.
Finally, companies must move beyond simple subscription models to solutioning. They should optimize channel partnerships to bundle holistic solutions that address business problems, both within industry verticals and broadly.
CloudBlue Innovators Virtual Forum was a microcosm of the larger digital transformation businesses are witnessing today. It was inspiring to gather the cloud industry’s leading minds amid these uncertain times to discuss ways to move forward and help companies succeed in the next normal.
Despite the satisfaction of successfully holding the forum virtually, our CloudBlue team and community are excited to return to an in-person format in sunny Miami Beach, Florida next May 4-6 for Cloud Summit 2021, and we hope to see you there!