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Ingram Micro cloud services pitch: Cloud enablement for partners

At Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2013, the company laid out its strategy for helping partners get a bigger share of the $35B global cloud services market.

PHOENIX -- Pitching the "All Sky, No Limit" theme at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2013 here yesterday, Renee Bergeron, vice president of managed services and cloud computing for Ingram Micro North America, introduced the distributor's channel community to two strategic initiatives -- Ingram Micro Cloud Services and IM Link -- designed to help partners take a bite out of a projected $35 billion worldwide cloud services market in 2013.

And that's not all. Ingram Micro also unveiled an expanded Cloud Marketplace that offers 170 solutions, including new cloud telecom services, new Hardware as a Service (HaaS) bundles and more than a dozen new cloud-based services.

Bergeron said Ingram Micro is focusing on four elements for partner cloud enablement: help put in place the right business model, provide the right solutions and services for end customers, deliver the right business platform to Ingram Micro partners and develop the right skill sets.

"We're at a level of cloud maturity with our resellers that we understand their needs and we've built the programs to address their different needs," she said.

Addressing the 500-plus partners in the room, Bergeron shared some cloud statistics to highlight the growing maturity of cloud computing services among partners. She noted that 86% of partners have sold one cloud service from IM's line card this year compared with 76% in 2012. Seventy-nine percent of partners have sold two or more cloud solutions this year compared with 70% last year, and 29% of partners have sold five or more cloud solutions from IM's line card this year.

What that added up to for partners was $500,000 in cloud revenue in 2012 for 22% of its partners. And "3% of partners earned more than $10 million in reoccurring revenue in 2012. They start out in 2013 with $10 million in the bank," she said.

Bergeron also drilled down into Ingram Micro's cloud enablement plan.

Business model: Ingram Micro's newly launched Seeding the Cloud program is designed to help partners build a formal cloud business plan. Once a plan is in place, Ingram Micro will give the partners money to fund their marketing activities.

"This program is launched with resellers that get cloud computing and have had some level of success already and are eager to accelerate the growth of their cloud business," Bergeron said. "For someone who's never done cloud, it can be daunting to build a full cloud business plan," she added.

The program is open to Ingram Micro channel partners of any size that have some level of cloud maturity.

Solutions and services: Ingram Micro is adding new HaaS and cloud telco services to its portfolio.

The initial HaaS rollout will feature nine pre-integrated HaaS bundles of HP and Lenovo laptop or desktop hardware. HaaS provides customers with flexibility and a monthly fee for hardware, and it offers partners cash preservation, predictable expenses and no lock-in to a hardware lifecycle, said Paul Hoffmann, senior director for cloud and technology solutions at Ingram Micro.

Telling the Ingram Micro channel community that selling the new cloud telco services is a way to boost revenue and the partner's footprint with customers, Bergeron introduced Ingram Micro's new telco service offerings from CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable.

"About 53% of partners offer telcom services -- voice, data or Internet -- but they get them from some other source. Switch to Ingram Micro cloud telecom and get one-stop shopping," she said.

That was music to the ears of Oliver Perez, president and CEO of MultiTrends Inc., based in Vancouver, British Columbia, a traditional IT services company for 11 years and a cloud services company for one year. "We want to be able to go to our customers and offer telco services for a single bundled price," he said.

A year ago, MultiTrends had no recurring revenue. Ten months after building a cloud services business, the company earned $250,000 in recurring revenue. "I expect that figure to reach $750,000 in cloud services by the end of the year," Perez said. He expects to triple the company's cloud business with fewer resources than he'd need if the company's focus were traditional IT services.

A year ago, MultiTrends had no recurring revenue. Ten months after building a cloud services business, the company earned $250,000 in recurring revenue.

Supporting these offerings is the IM Cloud Desk, which provides pre- and post-sales support via 200 support engineers who, collectively, have more than a thousand professional certifications.

Marketplace platform: The Ingram Micro Cloud Services platform was initially launched in 2010, with the first marketplace focused on education. At this year's summit, Jason Bystrak, sales director of cloud services at Ingram Micro, introduced new features that target solution cross-selling, scheduled for launch in May.

"Today, what our cloud partners need most is support in the field. As they grow, add solutions and scale their businesses, the platform we're introducing today will be a productivity tool for them," he said.

The online platform offers guided paths for packaging and pricing, cross-selling and even training for sales and marketing. The global platform is not fully developed, but Ingram Micro is using agile development methods to complete it, with iterative releases scheduled monthly and six to 18 months down the road intended to improve subscription management for cloud channel partners, according to Bergeron.

Skill sets: Ingram Micro offered a couple of strategies for partners to extend their skill sets and not leave money on the table in client engagements: expand their skill sets through Ingram Micro Training Academy or consider contracting for professional services via the newly launched IM Link.

IM Link replaces the Ingram Micro Services Network, in place since 1997. The new IM Link offers an expanded services portfolio and opens the network to all of the distributor's 30,000 North American customers.

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