I just got back from the first-ever Cloud Wars Expo at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, and I can honestly say it was one of the best and most unique conferences I’ve ever attended! Cloud Wars Expo took place over three days, June 28th to 30th. The weather in San Francisco was a welcome change for me. I live in Tulsa, Oklahoma where we have had highs over 100 degrees for the past couple of weeks, whereas the temperatures were in the 50s and 60s in the Bay Area.
I’ve been actively participating as an analyst for Acceleration Economy for the last few months, with various online events, panel discussions on video, and several articles a month. The content going up daily on the Acceleration Economy website, as well as LinkedIn and Twitter, has given me a constant source of inspiration for new ideas on how to use new technology, especially in the manufacturing industry.
At Cloud Wars Expo, I got the chance to meet quite a few of the big brains behind all that content in person, and I was not disappointed! It was great to be live and in-person after several years of online-only conferences. The only downside to being there in person is that I could only be in one place at a time. There were as many as six or seven different sessions happening simultaneously throughout the day. Since I was either speaking, moderating, or hosting many of those sessions, I didn’t get the opportunity to hear some of the presentations that I was interested in.
So, I was thrilled to hear that Cloud Wars Expo sessions will be provided online on-demand starting July 20th. Now I can take in all the great content that I missed, and I can go back and rewatch some of my favorites!
One impressive aspect of the conference that stood out to me was how much variation there was in the type of sessions offered. This was not some long, drawn-out marathon of speakers coming one after the other on a single stage. Nor was it just a collection of break-out classrooms to attend. The content in this conference took on several different forms throughout the week, keeping the excitement level high:
- Keynotes and Fireside Chats: There were multiple sessions with speakers on the big stage. The keynotes took the form of powerful presentations, and the fireside chats were more like a casual interview, with Bob Evans and the guest riffing on various topics. A couple of my favorite presenters were Julia White, Chief Marketing and Solutions Officer with SAP, who spoke on the rise of Cloud ERP, and Rosie Mastrandrea from Microsoft, who spoke on how Microsoft’s cloud offerings are helping companies meet their sustainability goals. This is a big deal for many manufacturers, including the one I work for as CIO.
- Industry Battlegrounds. These events pitted different cloud vendors against each other to try to convince the audience which solution was best. Each vendor was given the same five questions to answer and about 25 minutes to showcase their solutions.
- Topical sessions. I was involved in sessions that centered around Cloud ERP, such as Choosing a Cloud ERP Partner and Cloud ERP Lessons Learned. Some of the topical tracks included:
- Cloud ERP Migration 101
- Customer Dazzle
- Digital Transformation
- Metaverse 101
- Zero Trust Security 101
- AL & ML 101
- CXO2 Lounge and Jam Sessions. This was a comfortable area where we could meet up and share experiences. Some of these were recorded and will be made available, such as a discussion about the future of work that I had with Wayne Sadin and LinkedIn’s Sudha Ranganathan.
- Innovation Path. Cloud-based startups got the chance to give a three-minute pitch, with five winners named to the Cloud Wars Shortlist, and one winner crowned Cloud Wars Startup of the Year 2022. The shortlist included Specright, Najaxa Software, HandsFree, Crosschq, and CloudThread. And the winner was Wisy, with a fascinating product that uses AI to help stores figure out the best way to present products on shelves to optimize sales.
One of the highlights of the week for me was catching up with some friends I have collaborated with on Acceleration Economy panels and articles: Peter Joeckel and Erik Cornet, co-founders of HandsFree and Pelorus Technology. Peter and I conducted a session in which we addressed the problem of Cloud ERP projects that are over time and over budget, a situation that is familiar to most and all too common. We traced the problem back to the source and described some creative ways to avoid the pitfalls, starting even before the project begins. The week ended on a high note for Peter and Erik, when their company HandsFree was selected as one of the Cloud Wars Shortlist winners.
I never thought the time would come that I would go two-and-a-half years without getting on a plane. Travel has always been a big part of my life, whether for business or pleasure. Traveling to San Francisco for Cloud Wars Expo was my first time back on an airplane, and I consider myself very fortunate that everything went according to plan. None of my flights were canceled. My luggage all arrived. And I didn’t get sick.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to be the norm anymore. Apparently, several thousand flights were canceled the week of the conference. Some people who were excited to be there weren’t able to make it. I am so glad that my first foray back into live in-person conferences was Cloud Wars Expo, and I am truly looking forward to the content being made available on-demand in the next couple of weeks, for those of us who attended and want to see more, and also for all those who wanted to be there but couldn’t.
Want to see more content from Cloud Wars Expo? Starting on July 20th, more than 40 hours of on-demand cloud education content — including content from the Manufacturing track — will be available for free to Acceleration Economy subscribers.