One of the highlights of the Parallels Summit in Las Vegas early this February was Paal15’s magnificent orange-coloured Dutch Booth, where a group of several ambitious Dutch cloud players presented themselves to the world-wide Parallels ecosystem. While handing out stroopwafelbiscuits and beer mats, Cloud Companyon, KPN, MobeeArt, New Day at Work, Norman, Voiceworks, and Voipro did good business with the many international software developers, hosters, cloud aggregators and distributors who were gathered there.
Between the presence of the usual Dutch suspects alongside the smaller players and the prizes awarded to KPN and BackupAgent, it was clear that our little country is taking up an intriguing position in the international cloud world, and that we can rightly speak of the Dutch Masters of Cloud!
If the research by Parallels, Forrester and Gartner is to be believed, the cloud business will enjoy huge growth world-wide in the next few years, from 35 billion euro (at the present) to 75 billion in 2015 (figures from Parallels). Parallels is targeting the SME segment with its provisioning platform Parallels Automation, for up toa few hundred workstations, where a lot of variety is necessary.
The important role of the cloud aggregator, hoster or telco who combines services into an attractive package, is explained by the fact that 70% of SME’s already want to purchase bundled services from a single party, and this percentage is growing steadily. The adoption and growth rates differ of course by type of service and region, with some emerging markets like South America adopting cloud many times faster than more-conservative Europe. Enough reason for providers of SaaS, PAAS and IAAS solutions who have proven themselves in the Netherlands to look at an international roll-out.
I also thought it was remarkable how few providers of hosted voice/video/UC services there were in Las Vegas. Besides Voiceworks and Voipro at the Dutch Booth, there were only a few other providers on hand who are clearly active in this market, with Broadsoft and 4psa, for example, nowhere in sight. There were also hardly any videoconferencing or UC solutions besides Microsoft and Vidyo. This is odd given that according to Parallels research, this segment (communication and collaboration) is the fastest-growing one in the market, increasing from 1 billion euro in Europe this year to 4 billion in 2015, and given that no less than 40% of SMEs are considering switching to a hosted PBX in the near future.
In short, there are many opportunities for all Dutch Masters of Cloud, who in recent years have proven successful on a small scale at home, to operate internationally in Europe or even world-wide. This is in keeping with the TMT Ecosystem report ‘The Netherlands as the springboard for innovative companies’, published by ABN Amro Bank in February. It illustrates how much potential the Dutch landscape holds for innovative enterprises, what the role is of accelerators like Rockstart and StartupBootcamp, the importance of rapid growth, and how crucial collaboration is to acquiring the necessary knowledge and investments. The ABN also concluded that the Netherlands has the potential to play a part in the new technology/media/telecom field world-wide.
The Netherlands can be proud of the position it has already built up, and of all the new initiatives that have been started up and are being worked out here. Together let’s ensure a new Golden Age for the Dutch Masters!