This year CeBIT was a great experience. Last year we at elastic.io won CODE_n competition and spent a whole week in the Hall 16, was a lot of fun. This year I only spent 3 full days on CeBIT, however, they were as intense as the whole week last year.
Day 1 (17th of March)
On that day we had a very interesting conversation with ‘new boys on the block’ of the analysts market, René Büst from Crisp Research AG. First time I met him at one of the Cloud Ecosystem events where he gave a very interesting talk on Cloud AppStores. Rene is very well informed about IaaS, (x)PaaS and cloud platforms technologies. We had an interesting discussion on Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Cloud Adoption Strategies as well as problems of cloud adoption in Germany. I totally recommend reading up his articles and subscribing to the Crisp Research Newsletter – my favourite section of the newsletter is Tops/Flops 🙂
Clear highlight of Day 1 for me was a signature of our strategic partnership agreement with Germany’s largest system integrator T-Systems.
SIs in Germany are playing the major role in IT ecosystem. Cloud adoption will clearly affect their role and revenue streams, however, only few SIs clearly understand that and even fewer really have a plan how to ride this change.
T-System saw this change coming, and already has a plan. With their newly formed Digital Division they proactively make partner with companies like Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Cisco and many others (including elastic.io).
My takeaway from Day 1 on CeBIT: Cloud adoption changes SI business rapidly. Visionary SIs will survive, others won’t.
Day 2 (18th of March)
Second day we spent meeting with potential SI and ISV partners. Had a few interesting discussions with some SAP Partners and SAP.
It’s obvious that SAP is not a winner in the cloud game so far. Salesforce is stealing more of the bigger customers while ‘cloudy’ SAP ByD is essentially written off the books and not actively promoted (Silverlight RIP).
Main topic of SAP marketing message was ‘Simplicity’. How ironic.
I’ve never seen a product more complicated than SAP, and in my opinion it is not a bug, it is a feature – it’s a business model of many hundreds of SAP consulting partners. But irony aside, SAP realized that growth potential are not Fortune 100 but rather Fortune 5000. However SFDC is apparently too expensive to buy, even for SAP 😉
Highlight of the Day 2 was meeting with Stefan Ried – ex. Forrester VP and now CTO at Unify. Unify is a joint venture of the Gores Group and Siemens AG, ex. Siemens Enterprise Communication. Stefan showed me what they do and I was simply blown away.
The combination of the vision, technology, experience and what Gartner calls ‘ability to execute’ is remarkable. Don’t want to go into the details here, just go check yourself. I’m looking forward to exploring it some more and connecting elastic.io with Circuit platform.
My takeaway from Day 2: In this tweet:
— Renat Zubairov (@zubairov) March 18, 2015
Day 3 (19th of March)
On the third and last day at the CeBIT I had some nice discussions with ISV partners. During last three days we’ve met a couple of partner managers from different ISVs.
Most of ISVs are relying on the indirect sales channel, so partner management is an essential part of their business growth strategy. Most of the time discussions with partner managers were very productive and efficient. Even when partnership didn’t make significant business sense, it was good to talk with like-minded people oriented towards business growth and success. This was, however, not always the case. In ~15% of the discussions we met people driven by fear and not business growth opportunities. This is a topic for a separate blog post, but it reminded me again and again how important it is to have a good team. A wrong person in a wrong position could significantly affect whole company performance.
Highlight of the day was the last hour that I spent on Chinese Hall #6. Alibaba is one of the largest e-commerce companies in the world and the most valuable e-commerce company in the world. So, I was wondering how would Amazon Web Service of Alibaba would look like – this service called Aliyun.
Just check this screenshot:
Even if your Chinese is like mine (which is very bad), you can still notice English abbreviations like ‘ECS’, ‘SLB’,’VPC’, and many others. Guys from Aliyun can offer an alternative to almost every notable AWS service, which is incredible. I never saw any other public cloud vendor that could offer so many products, which are at the same time an almost one-to-one match to AWS products.
After going through all of them with one of the Aliyun product managers, I was able to identify two products that AWS don’t have – DDoS protection as-a-Service and Load Testing as-a-Service. My favourite is Simple Logging as a service, kind of mixture of Logentries + CloudWatch – very cool.
One problem – both the website and the documentation are not in English, but that should be fixed rather fast – see Alibaba Is Expanding Its Cloud Services To The U.S. To Give Amazon New Competition.
My takeaway from Day 3: Coolest and IMHO strongest AWS competitor is not coming out of US 😉
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