We are now past halfway at another record-breaking developer day at a Xerocon conference, with over 200 attendees at the Australian Technology Park in Sydney.
The morning sessions have been a whirlwind of updates and insights.
The Australian story
Xero Australia MD Chris Ridd gave developers and add-on partners an update on how Xero and Xero Australia are tracking and what Chris is seeing in the market for the year ahead.
The market for accounting software is growing as “40% of Xero users who sign up do not previously have accounting software”. There is a move to the cloud and software to help run businesses and Xero is leading this charge. He’ll give more of an update on numbers on Friday.
Chris introduced the idea of ‘Cloud Integrators’, who combine Xero with add-ons and provide support, training & implementation to create end-to-end cloud solutions for businesses. These companies will be a great complement to accounting and add-on partners.
Then it was into the meat of the day.
Special keynote – Mike Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian
Fantastic to have Mike, a true Australian success story running a business on the global stage. His company’s software is used by developers and corporates all around the world and has been from the start.
Mike discussed five rules for creating a global business. It’s really important to attract the right people, the right clients and stand out. From hiring to building product, this is has been a strong value of Atlassian since day one. Mike also highlighted the need to think about your business model as a global business. Having a customer centric, self service model has allowed Atlassian to scale globally. Atlassian has grown to 360 engineers & 26,000 customers and now has 9 offices around the world.
With an add-on store with 2,000 add-on partners, Altassian understands the struggles of creating value and passing it onto add-on partners and customers.
- Your business model has to matter. It has to scale globally. Be customer centric, self-service.
- Partners can help take your product global, if it’s ready to scale.
- Know your model, if it’s not global, don’t force it. Don’t try to be something you’re not.
- Think creatively. At one European event Atlassian created their own beer labels, put them on and handed them out to conference attendees as they walked in. It created huge buzz and got everyone talking about Atlassian.
State of the ecosystem
Xero CEO Rod Drury was on hand to give his vision for the Add-on ecosystem, emphasising the global nature of opportunities – not just Australia but USA, New Zealand and UK.
Rod sees the accountancy and bookkeeping channels continuing their strong growth. “In the next 5 years we are going to see Accountants and Bookkeepers getting back into the consulting space”.
Moving from software, servers and in-house resources to the cloud means recommendations can be made and implemented quickly and with domain knowledge rather than technical expertise. This is a key opportunity for accountancy & bookkeeping partners to work with the add-on ecosystem to create additional value.
Connecting the add-on ecosystem with investment capital is on the radar, connecting partners with VCs & angel investors.
Xero product direction
Highlighting the importance of developments within the main Xero application to future API features, Xero core product manager Andrew Tokeley (Tokes) discussed what is coming up in the next 12 months that might be of interest to developers. We won’t be tipping our hand on the details here – keep an eye on the live blog tomorrow and Friday for the big announcements.
Partnering & API
API product manager Tony Rule and developer partner program manager gave an update on the partner programs and API roadmap. Xero has now been running an Add-on partner program for over 5 years, with over 200 partners now providing integration to 275 different applications. Ronan Quirke summed it up beautifully, “5 years of partnering and we’re just getting started”.
Strategies to scale
Dr Jana Matthews discussed her experiences with the Australian startup scene through her position as Managing Director of the ANZ innovyz START accelerator program. She was excited about the quality of ideas and innovation coming out of the Australian technology startup scene. What do we lack? The ability to scale up. “Startup, scale up, grow up” was the focus of her talk as she covered 7 strategies to scale up a startup company and the value of mentorship.