Cxo of the week: YiLun Miao, Managing Director, APJ, CloudBlue

YiLun Miao, Managing Director, APJ, CloudBlue. He spoke about how Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) can benefit from building a self-service platform.

Manisha Sharma
New Update
YiLun Miao

CloudBlue, a division of Ingram Micro, is a cloud ecosystem technology platform that helps companies accelerate their digital and business transformation. It provides a variety of solutions and services, which includes CloudBlue Commerce, a hyperscale platform for launching and managing cloud businesses, and CloudBlue Connect, a multi-tier distribution, business, and channel automation platform.


Residing in Sydney, Australia, YiLun holds a Bachelor's degree in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Sydney, and an MBA from AGSM, University of New South Wales. He is a frequent speaker at a variety of industry events, including CRN, CommunicAsia, and CloudExpo.

Recently we have engaged in an interview with YiLun Miao, Managing Director, APJ, CloudBlue. He spoke about how Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) can benefit from building a self-service platform for digital transformation. How could this improve their overall business performance?

Give us a brief introduction about the company, its specialization, and its services.


CloudBlue’s purpose is to make businesses more efficient, profitable, and sustainable by taking complexity out of digital transformation and subscription-based technology. We power large cloud B2B marketplaces, which represent 30 million B2B cloud subscriptions.

Our managed marketplace platform takes the complexity out of distributing enterprise technology in the ‘everything-as-a-service’ world. With literally hundreds of vendors and tech solutions on our marketplace platform, businesses no longer have to buy and own tech products – they just use them on a subscription. ​And because they are already fully integrated on our platform, deploying the technology across their organization becomes much easier.

We have three main solutions:

  1. Vendor and catalog management – transforming how businesses manage vendors, placing them on a central dashboard to view contracts, pricing and usage. This automates procurement, fulfillment and provisioning processes of digital goods or services.
  2. Partner and channel management – our global reach and multi-country networks help businesses extend their reach and scale without having to worry about how to deploy technology for staff and clients.
  3. Subscription and billing management – our marketplace platform helps simplify the complexity of subscription and billing management, offering complete visibility of subscription use and costs.

Can you explain how Global Systems Integrators (GSIs) can benefit from building a self-service platform for digital transformation? How could this improve their overall business performance?

GSIs have teams in countries all over the world working on projects, building applications and packages, or implementing complex digital transformation programmes for their clients. But many lack a central catalogue or database of all the packages or solutions they have created for their clients. Every time a new brief comes in, a lot of highly valuable developer or consultant time is spent building solutions that already exist in some form across the GSI’s global network.


Cataloguing all these solutions to build a self-service platform for consultants across the globe can drastically increase productivity, profitability, and speed to market for all client projects. Given the value of most GSI contracts, the efficiency gain or revenue boost from this could be a multiplier of millions.     

There’s also a significant accounting challenge reselling software-as-a-service solutions to clients. For example, each month a GSI can receive multiple invoices totalling tens of millions of dollars for cloud services which it incurs on behalf of its global clients. Because many GSIs don’t have a central self-service ecosystem, they can’t easily reconcile these invoices with their clients’ usage, which can be spread across multiple vendors. The most common way GSIs assure their clients about their cloud usage is to manually review each line of a spreadsheet from the vendor. It’s a huge task and if they miss a payment cycle or incur a late fee on an invoice of this size, it can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. And any usage they can’t account for is often written off as lost revenue.

If they had a self-service ecosystem with all vendors seamlessly integrated on one platform, this costly challenge would be solved. Cloud usage reconciliation could be automated in real-time for clients, even those using multiple vendors in various regions.


What specific challenges are most GSIs facing that are hindering their own digital transformation?

There are two reasons why GSIs are popular amongst global enterprises in the process of digital transformation. First, they provide one single point of contact for payments, processes, and procurement for their clients. Second, they are best placed to create a consistent experience for their clients’ employees across markets.

But, GSIs have very similar challenges to those of the companies they help every day. They are complex, multi-national organisations that have grown and scaled very quickly. This means they can have very different processes, systems, and ways of working in the various countries in which they operate. Really, they need to start practicing what they preach and create a unified, digital-first way of working globally. But the reality of unpicking all these different processes and ways of working can be easier said than done.


They also have a more philosophical challenge for digital transformation. They have the people and expertise to undertake their own digital transformation and build their own self-service digital transformation ecosystem, but they are all busy on lucrative billable projects. So do they divert these experts and resources to build their own solutions, or do they buy off the shelf solutions?

How can GSIs use the resources saved through their own digital transformation to discover new business opportunities or expand their services?

GSIs perform a valuable role for their clients and become highly embedded, almost indispensable advisors. This creates significant opportunities for upselling, but often consultants and developers are swamped, focusing on the core SLAs of their contracts.


Undertaking their own digital transformation provides huge opportunities for resource optimisation for GSIs. By creating a catalogued, self-service ecosystem of digital transformation solutions for clients, valuable programmer and consultant hours can be spent identifying other client challenges, or opportunities to upsell new services, rather than building bespoke solutions, which may already exist elsewhere in their network. With salaries in India forecast to rise by at least 10% this year, and tech skills in high demand, GSIs can ill afford to have their valuable consultants spending time re-inventing the wheel.

This holistic view of services and applications across the GSI’s network would also improve how they deliver consistent transformation experiences for multinational clients. This creates a whole new opportunity to offer compliance-as-a-service, particularly for complex legislative challenges such as (the payment card industry) PCI compliance, or (General Data Protection Regulation) GDPR.

How will embarking on their own digital transformation drive help India’s GSIs to outpace their global competitors?

Indian GSIs are playing a big role on the world IT stage. Embracing their own digital transformation would help Indian GSIs set a new global benchmark for digital transformation in two very important ways.

The first is speed to market. Fully cataloguing all client solutions into a self-service marketplace can help Indian GSIs be more efficient than the competition, allowing them to complete highly complex projects in less time.

The second is customer experience. With less time spent re-inventing the wheel on client solutions, GSIs can take a more proactive approach to the day-to-day operations of their client. For example, they can provide cost optimisation services, particularly for cloud spend, which is a growing issue for global enterprises. Gartner suggests that 45% of enterprises have already exceeded their 2023 allocation for cloud spend. GSIs with their own self-service ecosystem have a real-time, cross-vendor view of their clients’ cloud usage and can adopt a more proactive approach to the cloud. This can help them reduce their clients’s cloud costs and ultimately boost client satisfaction and retention.

Tell us about your growth plans for India.

India is home to some of the largest and most successful GSIs in the world, as well as fast-growing global enterprises, so it’s an incredibly important market for CloudBlue. In fact, India is our fastest-growing market in APAC. There is a lot of opportunity, and ultimately we would like to expand our client base here. We have a great team on the ground in India, supported by a world-class global delivery and support team, together we are working hard to make this growth ambition a reality.