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BLOG | OCT 15, 2020
Embracing Innovation Amidst Digital Disruption: Takeaways from CloudBlue Innovators Virtual Forum Day One

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Adam Christensen
Adam Christensen

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Industry trends & insights
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By Adam Christensen, VP, Global Head of Marketing, Brand and Communications, CloudBlue

The months following the outbreak of COVID-19 have been trying for businesses around the world. Here at CloudBlue, our team has worked tirelessly to help independent software vendors (ISVs) and IT providers better equip their end-customers to perform in an increasingly virtual environment.

That’s why I took great pride in seeing our annual Innovators Forum – a summit of leading cloud industry experts, executives, and service providers that aims to spark new opportunities in the cloud – go completely virtual for the first time in its 15-year history.

The three-day Innovators Virtual Forum from October 12-14 featured dedicated sessions to help thousands of ISVs and technology providers take advantage of the latest trends and innovations in the cloud and beyond.

The first day of the forum was packed with valuable insights from leaders of companies like Travelocity, Sophos and Ingram Micro Cloud and below I’ve included some of the most important takeaways from each session.

Winning with ecosystems in the next normal

Day one of the forum kicked off with a keynote address from CloudBlue Vice President Tarik Faouzi about how to win with ecosystems in the next normal.

Forrester predicted that “17% of all transactions would be through e-commerce and marketplaces by 2023” adding that COVID-19 will likely accelerate this trend. This rise of B2B marketplaces is helping to grow valuable ecosystems for vendors and partners.

With all their potential, these ecosystems are equally complicated and intertwined. Tarik explained how CloudBlue simplifies ecosystem complexity while enabling access to a limitless customer base.

Pivoting in an era of solutioning

Jess Warrington, General Manager of North America at CloudBlue, delivered an interesting session on creating complete software solutions instead of just products.

B2B software buyer behavior is shifting. Customers want to quickly and easily find holistic solutions to business problems.

In order to stay ahead, software vendors must envision their product as part of a well-rounded solution for a customer’s problem and seek out partners they can work with to bundle solutions together.

CloudBlue Connect drives profit for providers

CloudBlue Product Manager Anthony Huang gave providers a look into how they can drive profit with the CloudBlue Connect Roadmap.

CloudBlue Connect is a marketplace automation platform supporting omni-product distribution for SaaS, IaaS, XaaS and other technology goods. It allows providers to streamline partnerships, modernize customer experience and update their services portfolio without adding undue operational complexity.

Looking ahead, Connect V21 will include additional real-time validation support, mass item import and export capabilities, and customer management module enhancements along with other key updates.

Tapping into the massive growth engine that is the channel

In his session, YiLun Miao, General Manager of Asia Pacific and Japan for CloudBlue, inspired providers to tap into the massive growth engine that is channel sales.

YiLun explained that in order to be successful in the channel, ISVs must adopt a channel partner-first mindset, align channel sales with the company’s overall sales strategy, and use software to centralize and automate processes such as billing and procurement.

Cyber security threats and sales strategies to boost provider revenues

Scott Barlow and Steve Weber from Sophos, a leading cybersecurity firm, walked MSPs through everything they need to know about emerging cybersecurity threats facing industry today. They also provided valuable tips for successfully selling cybersecurity solutions.

My favorite recommendations included adding device encryption and phishing simulation to the catalog of offerings, as well as educating customers about next generation firewalls with centralized management capabilities.

With the cyber threat space rapidly evolving, providers must invest heavily in keeping themselves and their end-customers safe.

Organizations must embrace digital transformation in order to survive

Terry Jones, founder of Travelocity.com and founding chairman of Kayak.com, capped off the opening day with an inspiring keynote on the necessity of companies to innovate and adopt digital transformation as a means of survival.

“If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” Jones teased the audience before providing valuable advice for vendors and IT providers looking to accelerate their digital transformation.

Perhaps one of the most valuable tips Jones proffered was that companies should start with their vision of the customer experience, and use technology to build that vision, rather than the other way around.

Conclusion

Amid months of uncertainty and disruption surrounding the pandemic, it was amazing to see the CloudBlue Innovators Virtual Forum bring together thousands of attendees from across the globe to discuss innovation in the cloud and beyond.

The first day really hit home for me the importance of digital transformation in organizations and the capabilities we have at our fingertips right now to take our companies to the next level, particularly around the critical steps of optimizing ecosystems and leading with customer experience. For more insights from the Forum, view all sessions on demand here.

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