Analyst Day 2019: Building the expertise to meet customers where they are on their cloud journey

We were proud to host our annual Analyst Day, welcoming analysts at our EMEA HQ to hear an update from local leaders. This was the third Analyst Day I’ve run at Rackspace, and I’m so pleased that the day is becoming bigger and better with each year as we continue to expand in the EMEA region.

This year, we had analysts in attendance from all major analyst houses, coming to live and breathe Rackspace for a day – introducing them to our people and showing them what we do for our customers was the highlight of my week. The analysts arrived from eight institutions across Europe

At last year’s Analyst Day we took attendees through our key focus areas, our go-to-market strategy, and how we planned to implement it. This year, we took things a step further: our objectives for the day were to demonstrate how Rackspace EMEA continues to help our customers win, and to show how our innovative approach to the market helps us stand out and make a difference. We also wanted to tell the analysts how meeting customers where they are on their journey is key to helping them accelerate their ambitions. Most often, they’re not at the beginning of their cloud journey but somewhere along the way, meaning their needs will be unique depending on their circumstances. At Rackspace, we pride ourselves on offering Fanatical Experience, meaning we can walk into a situation and quickly recognise what is working and what is not, and help move things forward.

This was also an exciting day for our leaders as we often travel to meet our customers but this time we had the opportunity to be together in our EMEA office and share valuable content in person with the analysts.

During the welcome presentation, Chris Blofield, our Senior Director of Client Services for EMEA, held a great presentation about how we’re using AI to get intimate with our clients. As customers’ infrastructure is becoming more complex, we’re investing in automation capability that enables us to solve problems without customers even needing to pick up the phone or log a ticket.

We also discussed our new brand with Mark Green, our VP of Marketing for EMEA, talking about the impact it has. A new logo and a new colour isn’t just a nice new design, but a signal that we’re changing our approach – our Fanatical Support built our foundations, and now our Fanatical Experience is taking us into the future. The analysts who’ve been following us for years know how we’ve gone from a traditional hosting company to becoming a technology services company. Especially over the past three years we’ve really pushed our professional services business, and we’re leading with this on many of our engagements around cloud organisational transformation and new application services.

For me, the Analyst Day was an opportunity to bring this progress to the attention of our analysts, starting with how we define customer requirements. Through our new Service Blocks offering, customers can be flexible in dropping and adding services depending on where they are on their journey, which speaks directly to what customers need. This is an example of how our services are more intimate and in tune with customers’ behaviours: people increasingly want to buy services as and when they require them. It also shows respect for the customers’ journey, as their cloud capabilities will mature at different rates. To learn more about Service Blocks, click here.

Three technical elements stood out on Analyst Day:

  • Kubernetes-as-a-Service
    Our Kubernetes-as-a-service offering drew lots of questions. The tech is now penetrating many mid-market and enterprise customers as a default platform for orchestrating applications, and there was significant demand for knowledge from the analysts who were keen to broaden their understanding of how it relates to organisational transformation and how it links into application deployments.
  • Security
    As customers are increasingly using multi-cloud, we’re seeing more demand for security not as an afterthought, but as a prerequisite. This is true whether a customer is developing an application, or whether they’re simply hosting it in production – we need to ensure that not just the services are secure, but also all the corresponding data such as personal information.
  • A broadening portfolio
    The breadth of our portfolio has improved over the past year, as we’ve made new acquisitions into the Software-as-a-Service space with RelationEdge as well as the work we do with Salesforce. Several of the analysts commented that it was refreshing to see us move into new areas which are genuinely useful to our customers on a daily basis as they go about their business.

I’m very pleased to see that analysts are recognising the progress we’ve been making over the past year. After the gathering, an amazing 100% of the analysts said they believe we are close, or very close, to our customers, and 75% said they see us as winning in the EMEA region. In my mind, these two factors are two sides of the same coin: a key reason why we are winning is because we are close to our customers, and in the coming year we’re going to keep pushing onwards and upwards with this winning formula.

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As Chief Technology Officer for EMEA, Lee James is responsible for helping customers accelerate the value of their business through our people, processes and technology. He is the executive sponsor for a number of EMEA customers. In addition, he leads the strategic development of Rackspace EMEA products and services. Lee has over 20 years of experience across largescale multinationals and agile-based environments, developing and implementing industry-leading cloud, analytics, digital strategy and transformation to deliver significant business value to customers. His prior experience includes senior roles across FTSE 10 and 250 organisations including BP, Betfair and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). At Betfair, Lee was responsible for delivering a DevOps-driven platform that performed more transactions than all the European stock markets each day. He is also an award-winning leader, having received an award for building BP’s first multi-cloud platform.

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