Thoughts on Future Proofing Organizations in a Post-Pandemic World with PROS Ulrich von Beck – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series

In this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast – Interview Series, I had the pleasure of being joined by PROS Ulrich von Beck. Ulrich is the VP of pre-sales/strategic consulting for PROS, and our conversation explored where digital transformation is headed, and the role future proofing will play in organizations in our post-pandemic world.

PROS provides artificial intelligence-based software as a service offerings that help organizations optimize every shopping and selling interaction, enabling companies to deliver personalizes offers to buyers, at scale, with speed, precision, and consistency.

In the last 18 months we’ve seen digital transformation happen on steroids. Organizations have completely rethought business models, technology investment priorities have shifted, and the way we work has changed. So, what do businesses need to do to keep moving forward? Will certain technologies play a bigger role in operational models? That’s exactly what Ulrich and I will be exploring in today’s conversation.

The highlights of our conversation centered around the following:

  • What does future proofing an organization mean, and what does it look like, specifically, in an enterprise organization?
  • The role of AI in futureproofing, and how AI can help organizations move from digital transformation to operating a digital business?
  • While it’s important, future proofing doesn’t happen overnight. We explored challenges customers will have to deal with and thoughts around surmounting those challenges.
  • Organizations are infusing AI into business operations, we explored some use cases and discussed what’s ahead with AI-powered offerings.

We wrapped the show with a conversation about what excites us most about the future of business and what we’re seeing today. You can watch my interview with PROS Ulrich von Beck here (and subscribe to our YouTube channel while you’re there):

Or grab the audio here by way of your favorite streaming channel:

If you’re not already connected, be sure and find and connect with PROS Ulrich von Beck on LinkedIn, and if you and I aren’t yet connected there, let’s fix that. You can find and connect with me on LinkedIn here.

Lastly, we developed a white paper in partnership with the team at PROS on AI-powered price optimization. You can check that out here: How AI Price Optimization Can Play a Significant Role in Both Business Growth and Customer Experience.
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Disclaimer: The Futurum Tech Webcast is for information and entertainment purposes only. Over the course of this webcast, we may talk about companies that are publicly traded and we may even reference that fact and their equity share price, but please do not take anything that we say as a recommendation about what you should do with your investment dollars. We are not investment advisors and we do not ask that you treat us as such.

Other insights from Futurum Research:

PROS Launches New SaaS Editions of Pricing Platform 

How a Focus on Pricing Optimization is Helping Organizations Rock B2B Commerce – Futurum Tech Webcast Interview Series

PROS Emphasizes Self-Service as the Future of Commerce


Shelly Kramer: Hello, and welcome to this episode of the Futurum Tech Webcast. This is part of our interview series of conversations, and we are so excited to have this conversation happen over on LinkedIn Live. I’m your host, Shelly Kramer. And joined today by Ulrich von Beck, who is the VP of Pre-Sales & Strategic Consulting for PROS. And we’re going to have a conversation today about something that I think is on everybody’s minds, and that is really thinking about future-proofing your business. And as we have spent the last couple of years navigating a global pandemic, and I think that probably most business leaders understand more today about the importance of future-proofing and business continuity and business resilience than ever before. So I think our conversation is a really timely one.

And to speak to digital transformation for just a quick moment, another thing that we’ve seen over the course of the last 18 months is really businesses embrace and move their digital transformation journeys forward at a very, very rapid pace. We often refer to it as digital transformation on steroids. We have seen organizations completely rethink their business methods, their technology investment priorities and the way we work, all of these things have changed. So the big question is, what do businesses need to do to keep moving forward? Will some technologies play a bigger role in operational models, and in lots of different things. So that’s what Ulrich and I are going to be talking about in today’s conversation. And with that, Ulrich, welcome to the show. It’s great to have you.

Ulrich von Beck: Well, thank you so much, Shelly. It’s really great to be here. It’s certainly a big topic across our client base, across our prospects and really everybody that we interact with. It’s been a big topic.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. I don’t think there’s anybody that’s not thinking about digital transformation journeys these days. Right? So tell us a little bit about you personally and sort of your career track, what have you done that got you to here?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. Well, I started off very early in BI. MicroStrategy was all the rage back in 2000, it was the big high-flying company. So I started my career at MicroStrategy in Virginia and then I very quickly moved into supply chain. So the whole idea of digital transformation or digital evolution, quite frankly, has been going on for a very long time. And supply chain was one of the big ones that was at the forefront of that. So I spent about 10 years at Manugistics that became i2 and JDA. So we combined all those companies together, but then went on to be Blue Yonder and is now owned by Panasonic. But supply chain was really my birthplace where I grew up in enterprise software.

And I was always on the side of algorithms, analytics, bringing information to the forefront that’s sort of humanly impossible to figure out. That was 10 years of my career. The next almost 10, I sort of pivoted right into startup land. And then startup land, I worked for a company called ScrollMotion, which was at the forefront of UX development for the iPad. The iPad had just come out. We had this whole rush to put textbooks on the iPad. We could do 3D Brains on the iPad. So it was all user interface related on the iPad, with a whole new way of interacting through touch.

So that, I was pretty much spoiled on the UX front. I worked with a lot of designers. I worked in the pharmaceutical industry there on how to show methods of action and for various pharma brands. And sort of selling to the doctor in a very, very interactive iPad type of way. Then, it was a fun time. I got a real appreciation for UX. Then I jumped back into the world of algorithms and AI and mathematical models at PROS. So that now brings together that whole user interaction part with the brains and the intelligence that AI brings to the table.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely.

Ulrich von Beck: So it’s a fun place to be.

Shelly Kramer: It is a fun place to be. And I have been a tech nerd my whole life. And like you, I’ve been working on digital transformation initiatives with clients before we had even coined that phrase. Right. So that’s been something that we’ve been doing for a long time as well. And I think that supply chain has largely been something that many people have not given much of any thought to accept nerdy people like you and I. And over the course of the last year, supply chain has very much become front and center and a part of every conversation, and it’s affecting businesses. It’s affecting us personally. There’s not any of us that aren’t waiting on something from somewhere.

Ulrich von Beck: That’s right.

Shelly Kramer: Right. So supply chain has never been, I think, more top of mind than it is right now. So I think that’s really interesting. So I mentioned it a little bit during the introduction to the show, but I want to get everyone on the same page. So tell me a little bit, if you would, about what future-proofing means to you. What does it look like in an enterprise organization?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. I think everybody learned a hard lesson, or many companies learned the hard lesson over the last two years. It’s all about, for me, it’s all about adaptability. How you adapt to a changing environment. And you can look at it, that very simple people process technology framework. But that’s the one that really takes you through those unexpected events, those changes in the market, changes in supply. It’s how you can adapt to whatever’s going on around you.

You can plan all you want, but there’s going to be some something that’s going to mess up those plans and you need to be able to adapt those. If I look at it, if I look at a company that’s really interesting to me as an adaptable company, you could look at a company like Nokia. What a crazy 150-year history Nokia has had. I mean, they started off in paper pulp. I mean, a paper pulp company? Then they went into cables and rubber, electronics. The high-flying mobile phone company back in the day with their brick phones that everybody had.

Shelly Kramer: I had one.

Ulrich von Beck: Who doesn’t know a Nokia phone? Other than, I guess, some of the Gen Z’s. They only grew up with smartphones. But everybody else knows a Nokia phone. Who would’ve thought that they’d sell that whole division, and now just license their name. And they don’t have anything to do with cell phones anymore in particular. But now they’re an infrastructure company.

Shelly Kramer: A very big infrastructure-

Ulrich von Beck: A big one.

Shelly Kramer: … company doing very innovative things as it relates to the 55 ecosystem. We talk about them on a regular basis here on this show.

Ulrich von Beck: That’s adaptability for you where, you do need a very strong technology component. But you need the people that have that right adaptable mindset as well, that allow you to adjust like that.

Shelly Kramer: One of the things that I have been telling someone, anyone that I’m interviewing with the interest in joining our team, we talk about change a lot here because everything that we do and have done for 20 years is really all about change and all about working with clients and being a change agent and being patient as people and cultures adapt and people learn to understand. And when we’re talking today, we’re talking about successful businesses create a culture of innovation and embrace continuous learning. And also, a culture that embraces data and data’s role within the organization, and how it truly is the lifeblood of every organization.

So one of the conversations that I have when I’m interviewing somebody is, how do you feel about change? Because if you don’t like change, you will absolutely positively hate working with us. But I think that, and we talk a lot about the future of work here amongst our analyst team, and with clients as well. And I think that as we look at the future of work and the workplace, I mean, that truly is a given. And as much rapid change, we talk about brick phones. We talk about… I was talking with somebody the other day who was mentioning, we worked together in the, gosh, in the early ’90s and at an ad agency.

And he was talking about how, that was back in the day where he sent an email to somebody saying something that he probably shouldn’t say and he was actually able to go into that person’s office and just open up his email and delete it. I mean, just little things like that that there weren’t those kind of gates or password logins or anything like that. But anyway, we’ve seen a lot of change. We’ve weathered a lot of change. And that seems to have happened at a really rapid pace. But what we know to be sure is that however rapid the last 20 years have been, the next five are going to be 10x that. Right?

Ulrich von Beck: Absolutely.

Shelly Kramer: And that pace is not going to slow down any. So I think that’s really why it’s so important to understand sort of the fundamentals of here’s what we need to future-proof our business. And speaking of one of the key kind of the foundational things involved in future-proofing, I know is artificial intelligence. So how do you see AI helping organizations move from digital transformation to operating a digital business as part of everyday practice?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. You mentioned the keyword, it’s data. You have so much data right now. Piles, petabytes, just server full of data and it’s coming in at a huge rate. And so, the way that I see that working out in the AI space is it’s humanly impossible to process all of this information at the same time or all at once. A consumer is starting to buy, another consumer’s buying something. And all of a sudden, there’s a run on something. You’re not even noticing that as a human running a business. But the AI is starting to pick that up. So it’s all about the speed of being able to adjust that. Maybe you’re running out of inventory and you’ve got to start buying much quicker than before. Are you going to stop putting it on promotion? Because you’re selling too much of it.

So to get rid of the 25% off promo sign on the website. But it’s those adjustments that are happening in real-time, that essentially are not possible by human speed and human processing power. And that’s really where the AI kicks in. Of course, for us at PROS specializing in that selling experience and pricing, you’ve got to be able to price all this in real-time. So when there’s a run on masks or cleaning products or things like that that we saw in our customers, you’ve got to be able to adjust very, very quickly to be able to serve the customers that need it most more specifically. And sure, there’s some willingness to pay involved there too. Who needs that product most is usually the one that’s willing to pay a little premium for that at a shortage scenario.

Shelly Kramer: Right. Yeah. It’s really interesting. And I hadn’t spent a lot of time before doing some work with PROS, thinking about the role that pricing optimization pays in decisions, in purchase decisions. But the reality of it is, whether you’re a B2B buyer, whether you’re an individual consumer, I think we come into… And touching on user experience that you just talked about a little bit earlier, coming into the equation, we want what we want when we want it. Right?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: And we want that information to be at our fingertips. We want it to be accurate. If we are part of a big organization, we want to be able to know where these items are, how many of them are, what the price is for this customer or this customer or that customer. And to have it be quick and seamless and efficient, that’s a really important part of being able to actually make the sale happen. And the same is true when you’re talking about individual consumers, we’re impatient, we’re busy.

And so, if you don’t as a business respect that sort of small amount of attention and even smaller amount of patience with the process, because what most consumers know I think is that I can find what I want in many cases. Supply chain issues of the last two years aside. Okay. This is extenuating circumstances. But we are adept. We are savvy. We know how to use the internet for research. We have sometimes, many cases big networks. So it’s just an interesting time and pricing optimization is such a fundamental part, I think, of the sales process and even the customer service process as well.

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. I mean, all of that, that consumer behavior is making its way into that B2B buying process as well. Promos typically don’t work that well. If you need to service a car and you need four brake pads, then you’re not going to buy eight brake pads for a particular car just because they’re on sale. You need four. And so, there is some different buying that behavior inside of the B2B buyer, but many of them are shopping around. They want to educate themselves. They just want to get a particular widget in many cases. And they may not care where it comes from, unless it’s critical for their business. If it’s a critical part of that supply chain, now you’re looking for a vendor relationship.

And price is only one part of that vendor relationship. It’s your terms. It’s delivery. It’s availability, when I need it. And so, there are all these other factors that an optimization will in fact take into consideration when developing a price in conjunction with everything else in a B2B relationship.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah, absolutely. And one lesson, I think, that we’ve learned a little bit over the course of the last couple of years is that our buying mindset in many instances, certainly in the B2B world has been just-in-time buying. Right. And in many instances that’s kind of turned around to bite us in the, you know what, just because of supply chain challenges and supply chain issues. And so, then it becomes even more important to be strategic about your pricing. You’re a strategy guy, I’m a strategy gal. Right. But it really changes everything, I think, about the need to really have insight into what’s going on on a daily basis. Really making use of that data that’s at your fingertips, hopefully.

Ulrich von Beck: Yup.

Shelly Kramer: And putting that to work as you kind of develop your strategy so that we’re not left empty handed.

Ulrich von Beck: Hanging. Yeah. And you’ve also got that contract perspective of the B2B relationship where you’re putting out a contract for three years with a certain supplier, or you’re bidding on a three year contract too. So that type of longer-term relationship is very beneficial to secure apply, secure your pricing, secure the delivery schedules that you want. And so, I think these types of disruptions are moving organizations into that securing the supply over the long-term phase even more than just doing spot buys.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. Absolutely.

Ulrich von Beck: And it’s pretty wise for their business

Shelly Kramer: Makes a lot of sense. So more on future-proofing. Okay. So it makes sense. And we know people are really embracing this as part of business planning strategy. Okay. But there are challenges in everything that we do, right. It’s kind of like, you made a comment earlier that made me think about what it’s like when you build a house. And I haven’t ever built a house, but I have many, many friends who have. And I’ve renovated old houses. That’s where I choose to pour my money, into 100-year-old houses.

But one of the things I know, knowing so many people who have built homes is that it generally takes twice as long and costs twice as much. So some of these things are, I think, applicable as well. And not that some of these technology solutions are going to cost twice as much. But sometimes the process can be, future-proofing comes with challenges. And what do you see out there as some of the challenges that your customers have had to deal with along the way?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. Yeah. To me, it really boils down to one word which is trust. That is really where the bulk of the work is. So if we look at that people, process, technology framework, the technology is there. It’ll tell you how to get from A to B, for example, on Google Maps. It will tell you that this is the price that you’re probably going to win the deal at. But you’ve got to trust that. And that’s the part that takes time, because what is this machine? Is it accurate? Does it know what I know? And so, you have to build that trust with a recommendation engine.

So let’s say, you’re a sales rep, it’s recommending products to you. Well, how does it know that? I know my customer. How does it know that? And so, you need times of calm essentially to develop that trust.

Just like you develop trust with humans, you develop trust with the AI that’s recommending things to you. So then when this pace picks up and the speed is vital, you already trust those recommendations. You already trust what the machine is doing. And then you can take full advantage of it. And it’s one of those things where, you’re dealing in older organizations, they’ve done things a certain way. You’ve got to retrain that. And it’s not that AI is replacing the human, it’s augmenting the human in a sense of augmented intelligence. It’s giving you more information rather than replacing you, per se.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. It’s kind of like when you watch Netflix. And Netflix uses amazing AI. And Netflix serves up for you, “Well, Shelly, you loved this and this and this based on everything we know about you, which is considerable, we think you like this as well.” Amazon is another. Everybody competes against Amazon in some way or another, B2B or B2C. But the one thing… Actually, Amazon does many things, right. But one thing that Amazon does particularly well is their AI engine. They know what you looked at. They know what you buy. They know what you think about buying. They know what you put in your card and later delete. All of those things.

And that’s one of the reasons that Amazon is as successful as it is, is because they have that AI engine that tells them so much about what our thoughts are and what our preferences are and that sort of thing. And so, that’s really what you’re talking about. And so, I think sometimes making those everyday analogies, right? I think it’s sometimes hard to talk to a business person who’s, we’re accustomed to doing things in this way. This is how we’ve always done it, whatever else. But when you can step back and say, “Well, think about Netflix or think about Amazon or think about…” I mean, and we actually all… We all use platforms on a regular basis that have some kind of AI driven engine that knows a lot about us. Shopping at Walmart or shopping at Target online, or any of those things.

So I think that you’re right, getting there, that trust is a key part of the equation. But once you do, even I think what our experience has been, when you can get somebody to just take a leap of faith with you, right. As a trust vendor partner, just take a leap of faith with us. Because I promise you that what we are going to be able to do together, what this technology, these processes in combination with your people, what we’re going to be able to do at the end of the day is so exciting and it’s really business game changing. And I think when you can get people to take that little bit of a leap of faith, that’s the secret.

Ulrich von Beck: Trust the machine, it will make your life better. And sure, Amazon is recommending things, but those are things that you like.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. So don’t be mad.

Ulrich von Beck: So don’t be mad at the machine. You can always say no. But it’s telling you, you probably like this, which is correct. And there’s only that much you can buy at the end of the day. And it’s up to you to make that trade off anyone.

Shelly Kramer: Well, and I think too the whole point here is to make, what AI can do is, it can source through information at a more rapid rate than we can as humans. And so, sure, I could sit around searching on Google or searching on Amazon for a particular pair of black flats or a microphone or whatever. But the reality of it is that that algorithm for, going back to the Amazon example, is so powerful and can do the work for me in record time and give me all different kinds of solutions and options and price points and everything else. And so, I think that that’s what we’re thinking about here. It’s not, as you said, technology replacing people. It’s technology working alongside people to not only serve customers better, to serve the business better and to actually make that job that that employee is doing hopefully a whole lot more enjoyable. And I think that’s a really important part of the equation too.

Ulrich von Beck: Absolutely. I mean, you look at things like self-checkout and that it, yeah, everybody… I’m happy to take my two items and go to self-checkout.

Shelly Kramer: I’m thrilled.

Ulrich von Beck: Why not? Right. And so, those are things that you really… Digging through data and all of that stuff is, I mean, it’s exciting for some. But for a business person, it’s not the most exciting.

Shelly Kramer: It’s not.

Ulrich von Beck: And what you’re trying to do is get a sale done. So if some something or someone is serving it up to you, you don’t mind, as long as that information is usable and understandable.

Shelly Kramer: Absolutely. So what I want to talk about now, just a little bit, is how organizations… So we’ve talked a lot about AI and the benefits of AI, right? So let’s talk now about how organizations can infuse AI into their business operations. And I know that we’ve got different options here. We’ve got mission critical business operations, right, and then we’ve got low risk operations. So let’s talk a little bit about some of the ways that businesses can, or maybe already are using AI. And throw out some examples for us.

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. Michael Wu, our chief AI officer actually breaks it down into some interesting categories. He talks about perceptual AI and then business AI. And perceptual AI is the stuff like chatbots and things like that. And they just make your life easier. They’re not making up new things. They just give you the information that you want. You know, “Alexa, how’s the weather?” And she’ll tell you. Or Siri will tell you. Or a chatbot will serve up whatever documents you would like from a website or a vendor. And so, they dig into the business itself. And those are fairly low risk options. They’re out there. If they don’t work, you just turn them off. They’re not the most expensive either, to have a chatbot on your website, for example. Or have a recording tool of a session like this on Zoom with Gong or Chorus.

They’re great tools, transcribe the whole conversation automatically, give you some great call insights. But that’s great to augment the business. But it’s not, driving the business itself. You can turn it off and you would be fine. When it comes to more business critical things like supply chain, like pricing on your whole catalogue for every customer, those directly affect your bottom line financial results. And so, those ones… So for our team, we’re out there really working on getting that trust of the senior execs because this can add a lot to the bottom line. But what happens if it goes wrong? And we don’t have scenarios really where it goes wrong, but it’s new. And so, you’ve got to get over that hurdle because that is high risk. Those are high risk stakes. And you usually start those project of small with a division or a group and then build it up, instead of going all in at once.

Shelly Kramer: So this is a great time, I’ve written about the PROS platform. I’ve done other interviews with members of the PROS team. But I would like to step back here for just a minute before we get to the end of our interview and tell us just a little bit, if you would, about the PROS customer base.

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah. Our customers are typically older enterprises that have been selling for a very long time. They’ve built up a couple billion dollar book of business, and they have many products. They have many customers. And it’s humanly impossible to figure it all out, which customers are underperforming, which ones are overperforming, which ones are your good customers, your bad customers, across 50,000 customers and a catalog of 100,000 items. It’s humanly impossible to do. And so, that’s where our AI goes in and starts segmenting all the different customers, their verticals that they buy and their volumes that they buy from. Through all sorts of attributes, we go in and segment those customers.

And we figure out the most important ones. And that’s where we use those micro segments to then recommend prices in those micro segments. Maybe it’s a hotel chain, premium hotel chains versus small hotel chains. What is their willingness to pay for fries? And that’s what we set recommending prices. And maybe there’s a high-end hotel chain that’s paying 30% less than everybody else. Well, that’s just because they’ve been doing business with us for 15 years. We could probably nudge them up. They have a willingness to pay that’s much higher than what they’re paying. And so, by tweaking this whole long tail of margins across such a wide range of transactions, you’re able to really set delivering two, three, 4% of margin to the bottom line of a customer. By just doing these little tweaks. And that’s only possible through AI. Humanly impossible to do.

Shelly Kramer: Right. That’s very exciting. And when you’re talking about solutions like this that do and can have a dramatic impact on the bottom line, that’s really what businesses are looking for. And that’s part of the future-proofing process, right?

Ulrich von Beck: 100%.

Shelly Kramer: Business resilience, business continuity, those kinds of things. How can we keep growing and serving our customers and endearing trust from them as well, right?

Ulrich von Beck: Correct.

Shelly Kramer: So we’re almost at the bottom of our conversation here, but I want to wrap up with just, what excites you the most about the future of business that we’re seeing? I will be honest and say, I thrive on change. I love change. I look ahead at some of the things that are on the horizon and get incredibly excited. By the same token, I look ahead at some items like deep fake video capabilities and that are AI driven and things like that. And that scares the heck out of me. But by and large, I’m very excited about the future of work, the future of business, the future of the workplace, all of those things. What excites you?

Ulrich von Beck: What excites me? There are two things. There are two sort of authors that have spoken recently. One is Peter Diamandis from the Singularity University, he talks about the age of access. And then Byron Reese talks about technology providing even more opportunities for people. It’s not going to away jobs. It’s going to create more jobs. And so, you take this age of access and this world of possibilities and you combine those two. And to me, the exciting thing is the personalization for every single person out there. And being able to utilize the technologies that are there to make it such a unique experience for every person. Whether it’s designing your own shoes on a website and having them deliver it a week later, to creating custom fertilizer for your farm. And so, that-

Shelly Kramer: By the way, you can design your own shoes already.

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah, exactly.

Shelly Kramer: I’ve designed Nike sneakers that are perfectly customized to my taste. It’s pretty exciting.

Ulrich von Beck: And they price for you. They made for you.

Shelly Kramer: Yeah. And that comes into the B2B world.

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: That will be the amazing thing, where you’ve got companies starting to pop up that can specialize in these things and they can take all the different technologies that are out there and possibilities that are out there and create a unique product that they can offer to a unique group of people. So this democratization of opportunity using technology and AI, I think is really just at the beginning. You’ve got your 3D printing going on. You’ve got B2B customizations. We have a customer that can allow you to build your own air conditioning system for your house through self-service. I mean, it’s coming and it’s coming in a big way.

Ulrich von Beck: That’s really cool.

Shelly Kramer: And that’s really the exciting thing, for me, that’s out there.

Well, I am with you on that train. I think that, what did you call it? The democratization of-

Ulrich von Beck: Of opportunity and technology.

Shelly Kramer: … of opportunity and technology. The democratization of opportunity and technology, that’s really, I like that. And we use that phrase in our industry a lot, right?

Ulrich von Beck: Yeah.

Shelly Kramer: RPA democratizes code and blah, blah, blah. But I think that’s really a really salient point and a great talking point to leave us with. I think that’s awesome.

Ulrich von Beck: Absolutely.

Shelly Kramer: Well, Ulrich von Beck, the VP of Pre-Sales and Strategic Consulting at PROS, thank you so much for joining me today. For our audience, I will be sure to include a link to Ulrich’s LinkedIn profile here and a link to my own LinkedIn profile. If we’re not connected yet, let’s fix that. And to our viewing audience and our listing audience, thank you so much for hanging out with us today. And I am sure that we’ll be back again in no time. And Ulrich, thank you again for spending time with me today.

Ulrich von Beck: Thank you so much, Shelly. It was great.

Author Information

Shelly Kramer is a Principal Analyst and Founding Partner at Futurum Research. A serial entrepreneur with a technology centric focus, she has worked alongside some of the world’s largest brands to embrace disruption and spur innovation, understand and address the realities of the connected customer, and help navigate the process of digital transformation. She brings 20 years' experience as a brand strategist to her work at Futurum, and has deep experience helping global companies with marketing challenges, GTM strategies, messaging development, and driving strategy and digital transformation for B2B brands across multiple verticals. Shelly's coverage areas include Collaboration/CX/SaaS, platforms, ESG, and Cybersecurity, as well as topics and trends related to the Future of Work, the transformation of the workplace and how people and technology are driving that transformation. A transplanted New Yorker, she has learned to love life in the Midwest, and has firsthand experience that some of the most innovative minds and most successful companies in the world also happen to live in “flyover country.”


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Olivier Blanchard, Research Director at The Futurum Group, shares his insights on what the newest AI-enabled features in Amazon’s Echo products suggest about the future of Alexa-powered UX.
Oracle Is Expanding Its Cloud Services on Azure and AWS and Launching Oracle Alloy for Specialized Partner Offerings
The Futurum Group’s Guy Currier and Steven Dickens look at the latest announcements from Oracle CloudWorld, including Oracle Alloy, which enables global partners to create specialized cloud services, signifying a collaborative future.