Parallels Summit 2012: Q&A, Birger Steen

It happened on all sides of the business. In the APS ecosystem we started [thinking more/planning] about who we recruited. We also find that there are many examples of apps that show up for certification that we didn't even know about that were being packaged and visible brand name apps too. The whole concept of building an ecosystem is you get some sort of flywheel effect when the network takes on a life of its own. I think we've really crossed the chasm from last year to this year in those terms. There's a lot more self-driven development in the business.

We've been very clear over the last two years that our focus is on the SMB and user universe, served through service providers. The core audience of service providers we want to stay in touch with and serve are what used to be called hosters but are now called cloud service providers. The reason for that is we think the best hosters are actually among the best businesses in the world in serving SMBs. They're in many cases surprisingly efficient in production, even compared with some of the largest datacentres on the planet. You'll find some very interesting things happening in some of the best hosters' datacentres.

There's a real core skill the best of them have developed because the market has been so incredibly competitive over the last 10 years with low barriers to entry and it being hard to acquire customers. Most of them have got super good at go to market, selling and upselling, forseeing customer needs, adding on a new service. That's something you saw in the keynotes yesterday: Three years ago the average number of service bundles a customer would buy was a little bit over one. Last year, it was three. There's an explosion in the number of services that each customer of the hosting business consumes and we think it's going to continue growing.

We want to stay on the cutting edge and really continue to lead this by staying in touch with and serving our key hoster audience, even as we take on big operators and new players in the market.

Maggie Holland

Maggie has been a journalist since 1999, starting her career as an editorial assistant on then-weekly magazine Computing, before working her way up to senior reporter level. In 2006, just weeks before ITPro was launched, Maggie joined Dennis Publishing as a reporter. Having worked her way up to editor of ITPro, she was appointed group editor of CloudPro and ITPro in April 2012. She became the editorial director and took responsibility for ChannelPro, in 2016.

Her areas of particular interest, aside from cloud, include management and C-level issues, the business value of technology, green and environmental issues and careers to name but a few.