Cloudreach – 5 and a half years on
I felt inspired to write this today following the public announcement that Cloudreach has taken an epic next step on its journey to disrupt the world of tech and will now grow with the assistance of Blackstone.
I know a number of my cloudy colleagues are also planning on writing a few of their thoughts down, so I’ll keep this relatively brief (they still have quite a long way to go in blog frequency to keep up with me of course, but that’s another story).
We’ve come a long, long way together
I joined Cloudreach in the summer of 2011 and, despite the company having been in business for 2 years, cloud was still viewed with “some suspicion” in a few quarters. When I left my previous role, most of my former colleagues referred to it as “cloud”, as most were convinced the future was VMWare based. And indeed, my first meetings at Cloudreach were a rude awakening into trying to understand the Patriot Act. How times change.
We were also more of a Google focused company, specifically with Google Apps (now the, ahem, fabulously named G Suite) being a core of our business and IaaS/PaaS still to really develop in Europe. As was noted in the office last week, this time 5 years ago, some of the team were provisioning BlackBerry handsets to connect to Google BlackBerry Servers….which were running in AWS at least. Now the same folks find themselves engaged in huge cloud transformation projects, working with everything AWS and Azure can offer. How times change.
2011 was also a very “media” focused year for cloud computing in terms of the main users of the technology, largely through a forced drive to innovate in the face of a new digital world. Fast forward to 2017, and the user base of cloud computing now covers all industries, with financial services and central government the most recent to adopt at scale. How times change.
In those earlier days, we used to have an entire company daily stand-up as we only had one office at the time, with a second one opening in Edinburgh in parallel. These days, we’re debating the merits of Confluence, G+, Hangouts, Slack and Hipchat (and even something called email) for various different organisational communications streams. How times change.
Well, obviously I’m not going to spell out too much in the public domain, but you can expect to see significant growth – but *intelligent* growth. We won’t plan to scale through throwing large numbers of people at the world’s cloud challenges. We will plan to further automate and optimise through code and ever evolving ninja practices.
You’ll see significantly more software announcements from Cloudreach, building on the great success of Cloudreach Connect and the recently open sourced Sceptre.
You’ll see new offices opening in new places – if you think you have a market to yourself right now, sorry.
You guys are changing, man
Yes. I believe we’re changing for the better. When I first started talking to Blackstone last year, I was inspired by their vision for a larger, and more effective Cloudreach. This isn’t someone buying Cloudreach because they want ‘bodyshop’ talent as a shortcut to their own training. This is an experienced and highly credible investment company buying into a culture and vision that they wish to help scale and I’m delighted to be a part of that.
From a customer perspective, I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reactions so far. What enterprises tell us is that they want is an alternative to the norm of large GSIs (who clearly have their place of course). An alternative based on passionate belief in cloud, serious skills, a cloudy culture, and the intelligent automation of work.
What I am still incredibly proud to say is that the first two people Cloudreach ever hired (beyond James & Pontus of course) remain working for us today. I think that speaks better than anything else can for my hopes for the future.
“KiC” as we like to say here. Keep it Cloudy.