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How to be a services leader in the cloud’s third wave

Something big is happening in the cloud computing space. Salesforce calls it Cloud 3.0. We call it the cloud’s third wave. Far too many call it simply digital transformation. Whatever you call it, there is a perfect storm happening right now, with multiple forces coming together to drive more mindshare and more money into cloud technology and the vendors that play in that space.

The first force is no surprise to anyone — the pandemic. COVID dramatically accelerated digital initiatives inside most companies. As Satya Nadalla, the CEO of Microsoft put in, “we saw two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.” Those initiatives aren’t slowing. In fact, they’re accelerating.

The second force is the maturation of cloud computing. Businesses of every size have bought into the cloud model, and are finding new and creative ways to embed it into their business and customer-facing processes. A maturing space also brings a bigger, more diverse group of vendors, which means more choice for customers, and unfortunately, more complexity.

A third force is the surplus of capital in the market today. Consider just some of these stats:

  • Cloud companies now have a $2 trillion market cap (Bessemer)
  • In 2020 alone, $186 billion was invested into private cloud companies (Bessemer)
  • In Q4 2020 alone, five cloud vendors generated $37 billion in revenue (Cloud Wars)
  • 45 cloud consultancies were acquired in the first 5 months of 2021 with an aggregate value of more than $3 billion (Tercera/451 Research)

Most entrepreneurs and investors will tell you at least 50% of success is being in the right place at the right time, and for those in cloud services, you couldn’t pick a better time. But being in the right place at the right time is only half of the equation. The other half comes down to execution, and building and scaling a business (especially a services business) in the cloud’s third wave looks far different than it did 20 years ago.

As an operator in the services space for more than 25 years, a founder of one of the earliest cloud consultancies, and now an investor and advisor to the next generation of cloud consultancies, I’ve seen the evolution of cloud services first hand. So has Jeff Kaplan, the founder of THINKstrategies, a strategic consulting firm focused on the business implications of transitioning from product-centric to services-centric business models.

Jeff has been a thought leader in both services and cloud computing for three decades. He’s a respected industry analyst, and is now a strategy and go-to-market advisor for Tercera’s portfolio companies. He’s seen A LOT over the years, so when it came down to documenting what’s going on at the intersection of cloud and services right now, I couldn’t think of a better partner.

Our newest ebook, What It Takes to Be a Services Leader in the Cloud’s Third Wave, covers the evolution of cloud computing, the new players in the space, as well as the business models, labor models and skills that consultancies need if they want to succeed in the third wave.

Jeff and I will be holding a webinar and live Q&A about the third wave and some of the concepts in this ebook on Thursday, June 3 at 10am ET. To join that webinar (or access the recording), register here.

We hope you’ll join us!

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