From The Editor | June 7, 2011

Ingram Micro Cloud: Cloud Beyond Managed Services

Webinar: Cloud 101

By Gennifer Biggs, security, storage, and managed services editor

To tie up the general session on the first day of the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, Keith Bradley, Senior EVP and President, Ingram Micro NA tackled the impact of cloud across the channel and Ingram Micro. He pointed out that while cloud is getting a lot of attention, there are other technology changes impacting the channel, including mobility. When I had the chance to sit down with Bradley later in the day, he expounded on the technology focuses that Ingram Micro sees as having high potential across its many markets.

"Cloud is impacting about 10%-20% of our business, but it is horizontal; we are seeing it impact several different markets," says Bradley. "So we are definitely looking at cloud, and at mobility; those two technologies are tied closely together." Outside those two big-buzz tech trends, Ingram Micro is also focusing on strengthening its POS and data capture offerings, which overlaps with its mobility initiatives. Lastly, the distributor is seeing increasing interest and demand around pro A/V and digital signage, which heavily impacts its POS and retail partners. "We are seeing that none of these stand alone, they almost all overlap each other in some way," explains Bradley.

Regardless of other initiatives, Bradley says the buzz around cloud remains front and center. Interestingly enough, about 2/3 of the attendees at the cloud event are more traditional solutions providers vs. the MSPs that led the initial cloud push into the IT market. That mix definitely shaped the questions that the Ingram Micro team heard from its partners. "We hear, first, do I do cloud or not? Then if the answer is yes, we get questions about converting a solutions provider business to a consultative model in order to take advantage of cloud value," explains Bradley. That is especially true with the Ingram Micro partners that are not positioned as managed services practices since most MSPs already tackled that transition. To support partners with those questions and concerns, Ingram Micro is digging into ways to create a framework of support for VARs as they look at their own business and start down the path toward offering cloud. That effort goes well beyond developing a portfolio of cloud vendors, and into training and marketing support.

Bradley says at the Ingram Micro partners pack up and leave Phoenix, he wants them to take three key points back with them to their businesses. 1. Don't be scared, just get educated about the cloud. 2. If you think you're already educated, start looking at how you can evolve your business skills to sell cloud. 3. If you have the first two under control, start looking at the operational changes to your IT business that will need to happen to support cloud offerings.

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