LONDON, UK — At last year’s HPE Discover event here, the host company introduced a cloud community it calls Cloud28+ for the EMEA market. A year later, just ahead of this year’s edition of Discover in London, it’s announced that it’s taking the community worldwide.
Currently boasting some 330 members and 1,300-plus approved services across 21 countries, Cloud28+ aims to provide a community that hosts, defines, and showcases cloud-specific services and applications. Xavier Poisson, vice president of worldwide indirect digital services at HPE, stressed that it’s not a marketplace in the conventional, transactional sense, because “all the revenue is done at the edge, either between member partners and their customers, or amongst member partners themselves. Rather, he said, the group is about helping members expose, sell, and propel their cloud applications and services.
“It allows us to publish a single catalogue of services around digital transformation,” Poisson said. “For customers, it allows them to answer the question of ‘If i want to transform my business, where do I go to find the right cloud services, the right apps, the right services, the right capabilities, to make it happen.’”
The community draws from a number of different constituent groups, including VARs and MSPs, System Integrators, and service providers, all publishing their cloud-related offerings — be they XaaS offerings, enablement, deployment, or other services, or applications — in a single repository.
At 330 member companies, the group has grown very quickly in its two years of existence — it has been public for one year. And with HPE opening the doors for membership beyond the EMEA region, Poisson predicted continued growth, positing the group could be double or even three times its current size a year from now.
“We have the foundation to grow very big,” Poisson said of the program structure and the 15-member advisory council.
Already in Europe, he said the group is seeing membership becoming a requirement for some cloud-related customer projects, because of the interoperability and common structure it suggests, and if that catches on more broadly, it could really drive up membership, making it at some level table stakes for participating in some customers’ cloud-related efforts.
With the community in place, Poisson suggested the group was moving to expand its enablement efforts for members, particularly when it comes to digital marketing materials. The challenge it has is that it has to explain a variety of fairly complex concepts through a variety of lenses to make the campaigns and other offerings it brings out relevant to members who themselves look at the opportunity through a variety of lenses.
“Explaining the cloud journey, even after all these years, is still quite complex,” Poisson acknowledged, saying the company was aiming to address that through a variety of campaigns available to members that tackle the cloud in terms of market awareness, technology awareness, and awareness of regional and national rules and regulations.
Although HPE retains a sense of control and “driving” the community, Poisson said the group, and its advisory council, has been modeled after more foundation-type community organizations, such as the one around OpenStack. That foundation approach, Poisson said, will help make sure the community is tracking towards what members need.
“Our goal is to propel our members’ cloud services, so that customers can find them and use them,” he said.