The inaugural Cloud Wars Expo (CWE) took place last week at Moscone Center in San Francisco. Billed as a fresh take on events, with more than 100 speakers and 40 hours of practical, immediately applicable content, Cloud Wars Expo delivered on the promise, and then some.
As a speaker I had the honor of sharing insights in several sessions, including; “Accelerating Your Digital Transformation”, “How to Become a Data-Driven CXO” and “How to Get Your Board on Board.” As an attendee, I was blown away by the breadth and depth of the content as well as the format.
Each session was short, practical, and presented by practitioners with clear, relatable experience. The keynote sessions were exceptional. Structured as interviews led by Cloud Wars founder and noted tech journalist Bob Evans, they went way beyond simple vendor presentations, delivering unique insights and actionable takeaways for attendees.
By Practitioners, For Practitioners
Business events have been become stale. The genre has been in dire need of innovation and reinvention for a long time. Cloud Wars Expo’s innovative, unique format was a refreshing and much needed change in business events, and it was clear that attendees and sponsors agreed.
The central tenet of the content philosophy of CWE is that practitioners speaking in a first-person narrative are the best resources for business leaders looking for insights, tools, systems, and frameworks to unlock the growth of their businesses. This practitioner-to-practitioner approach created a workshop-like feel, with attendees deeply engaged and actively participating in discussions…as opposed to simply listening to lectures.
Ok, so before I get accused of a lecture here, while they’re still fresh, I want to share three main takeaways from Cloud Wars Expo:
The Supply Chain Era
From keynote interviews and CXO sessions to hands-on ERP migration sessions and conversations in the hallways, supply chain-related discussions were everywhere at CWE, and with good reason. Matching supply and demand is increasingly difficult today. “Demand Distortion” events are accelerating in frequency. It’s clear that the traditional approach of marketing departments driving demand and operations management delivering supply simply isn’t working anymore.
Exacerbating the challenge is that demand and supply data are often in individual silos, with no easy way for companies to reconcile it to be able to spot abnormalities. When unforeseen increases or decreases in demand appear, many companies — even many industries — are unable to move quickly enough to adjust. There is a huge need today to integrate demand chains and supply chains…although this is far easier said than done.
We will see significant innovation in supply chain management over the next few years, with cloud computing playing a central role in facilitating an integrated approach to demand and supply chains. From various presentations and discussions at Cloud Wars Expo, it’s very clear that the supply chain challenges are also helping to fuel the rise of Vertical Cloud services, something I predict will have explosive growth over the next few years.
Last point here, this integrated approach to supply chain management will also drive organizational change in many companies and industries.
The Ecosystem is Changing
The remarkable acceleration of the digital transformation in most every industry has forced a reevaluation of how business leaders view their ecosystems. Cloud technology is allowing access to new customers, distributors, and partners at the same time, so companies are also being surprised by new competitors.
Companies are co-creating value with technology providers and, in some cases, with customers. The ability to go direct to customers is now within the grasp of traditional businesses that historically have only worked through two-tier distribution. In some cases, companies are catching their competitors flat-footed by “going direct” to B2B customers through the use of technology. We are witnessing a new era of “Co-Opetition,” whereby business leaders need to redefine how they work with their ecosystems on an ongoing basis.
The B2B Metaverse May be Bigger than B2C
My Acceleration Economy Analyst Network colleagues and I have an ongoing discussion about what the Metaverse is and whether it’s the right term to describe the next major wave of the Internet. I’ll save that debate for another post.
What really struck me from the presentations and discussions at CWE is the level of innovation with Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality taking place in the B2B arena. In essence, I believe that a B2B Metaverse market is shaping up that may ultimately be larger and more impactful than a B2C Metaverse. Training, technical services, maintenance, research, collaboration, design, and development will be totally redefined by innovative uses of AR and VR technology. Oh, and if you want to call this “The Metaverse,” that’s cool with me!
Join On Demand
You can take advantage of all of the content presented at Cloud Wars Live 2022 when it becomes available on-demand, starting July 20th — all 100 speakers, each session, over 40 hours of content. You can register here. Look forward to seeing you at Cloud Wars 2023!