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Blue.cloud CEO On Triple-Digit Growth, Talent And Cloud Predictions

‘Companies don’t want to add data centers anymore. Cloud is not where we compute, but it’s how we compute. It’s also enabling startups to have the same access to a very established company and making them even more advanced,’ says Blue.cloud founder and Co-CEO Kerem Koca.

Blue.cloud has seen rocketship-like growth, 185 percent year over year in the past two years, and has no plans of slowing down. The growth is a direct result of the increasing demand for cloud data and analytics solutions. 

“Every company now is a technology company,” Blue.cloud founder and Co-CEO Kerem Koca (pictured) told CRN. “The CEO is a technology CEO and I think COVID definitely condensed this [cloud] acceleration and made it even faster than anyone predicted.”

Since the start of the pandemic, the Tampa, Fla.-based cloud-first solution provider has invested in its partnerships, expanded its data and analytics capabilities to provide business insight to customers, and is driving digital transformation in a digital-first world.

CRN spoke with Koca and CFO Brian Alvarez to discuss what contributed to Blue.cloud’s triple-digit growth, the “great resignation” and what cloud trends they’re currently seeing.

Let's talk about this 185 percent year-over-year growth. What do you contribute that to?

Koca: We had it back to back the last two years. That’s only because there is great growth in data services in the cloud area. Execution is weak among our competitors, and they are not able to grow as much as they could or should. But we were able to execute, and the demand keeps growing. We will definitely [see triple-digit growth] this year again.

Alvarez: There are a lot of trends around movement to cloud, digital transformation and now data usage within the cloud. It’s where we’re focused and getting meaningful insight from it.

You also tripled your team in 2020 and 2021. How are you being so successful at finding talent amid the great resignation?

Alvarez: We currently have about 320 employees. We consistently look for the best talent globally. We are a global company and in the remote world of how people are working now we’ve been able to build diverse teams from across the planet. Another component is a bit of the flywheel effect that occurs around interesting projects, interesting technologies, interesting customers and a culture of innovation and opportunity. When you combine all those things, we find that good people want to come work here and that good people attract other good people to come and work at the company.

Koca: I think that technical people want to work on projects with new technologies, with good people and with good customers. As long as we provide that consistently, they will come.

You’ve also partnered with a lot of next-gen software companies. Why are those partnerships so important?

Koca: The speed of implementation of technology is growing exponentially. As that happens, our enterprise customers almost gave up. They accepted that they won’t be able to build the teams to implement those themselves. So then they are asking any company to help them get to the next technology because they still need to run their day job. As we acquire skills in these new technology solutions, we bring it to our customers and show that we can implement them. And budget is not a big problem right now. There is a budget for implementing these new technologies.

Let’s talk about digital transformation and the huge migration to the cloud. What are you seeing the market right now, and where do you see cloud trends going in the next year?

Koca: About two years ago cloud adoption was about 20 percent and I had a prediction that it was going to go to 80 percent in five years. Then the COVID situation made that even more condensed, more accelerated in a way. There’s a few reasons for that. Companies don’t want to add data centers anymore. Cloud is not where we compute, but it’s how we compute. It’s also enabling startups to have the same access to a very established company and making them even more advanced. It’s really changing the game exponentially, but they need people to implement these solutions.

What is your reflection on your predictions once the pandemic hit and we did go remote?

Koca: Western Union is a customer of ours and has thousands of offices all over the world. [When the pandemic hit] the CTO started investing and said, ‘We need to be more digital.’ They needed that wake-up call. Cloud migration is going to make that easier.

Alvarez: We’ve been pretty happy with the growth path. We did, about halfway through the year, increase our projections for the third and fourth quarter. COVID helped accelerate things. Halfway through 2021 we also saw an opportunity that we can do even more than we had originally projected and revised our projections for the rest of the year.

When the pandemic eases up and more companies return to the office or keep a hybrid approach, how does the cloud fit into that?

Alvarez: Cloud is here to stay. There is a new way of working that people have found to be more efficient for the global economy. We generally believe IT services and IT companies can be conducted entirely remote, globally, and that’s been efficient for every company. What happened is something that was going to take five years occurred in a year and a half, and that’s generally a good thing in terms of the technology community.

Koca: In a traditional company, if you went to them and said that all of your IT leaders can work remotely, they would have said no. But now COVID happened and in six months they are working remotely. So it is now clear that it can happen and a good percentage of people will not go back to the office full time. It’s more efficient, and companies need to be ready for this forever in a way, if another variant comes or another virus comes.

What can we expect from Blue.cloud in 2022?

Koca: We are investing heavily in AI capabilities and we are going totransform our data cloud capabilities to more of a predictive analysis. We will be a strong AI player by enabling our customers to use their data even better. 

Alvarez: For growth we’ve hit a target of pushing as close to a $100 million run rate by the end of the year as we can. If we don’t hit that by the end of the year, we’ll be pretty close. We continually assess strategic partnerships with best-in-class technologies. That’s a recurring theme so there may be something that happens there, and then we continually assess meaningful acquisitions of companies that can add capability to us.

What differentiates you in the market?

Alvarez: One of the key pieces is the ability to execute and be execution-focused. It’s about rapid delivery, putting the right people toward the right problem very quickly and sprinting toward deliverables for the client. The other piece is total positioning around data and analytics capabilities. It’s also about the partnerships, the people and the skill sets that the people have.

 

 

 

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