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Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2014: New hosted services, engagement options

At Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, the distributor announced new cloud products, programs and services aimed at partners at various levels of maturity.

HOLLYWOOD, FLA. -- Ingram Micro Inc. is making it hard for its reseller partners not to think about cloud. Today at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2014, being held here this week, the distributor announced new cloud products, programs and services designed to help both immature and mature partners find success in transacting cloud services.

Currently, Ingram Micro has relationships with over 70 vendor partners and takes more than 200 cloud solutions to market. The company announced today that it is expanding the number of cloud solutions in its global cloud portfolio to include data center colocation services from 365 Main (available in North America), telecommunications offerings from Charter (available in the U.S.), Office 365 migration tools from SkyKick (available in North America), online payroll products from SurePayroll (available in the U.S.), hosted Zimbra email (available in India), and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) from IBM's Softlayer (available in Europe).

The distributor also announced the expansion of cloud services that it offers its reseller partners. Last year at the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, the distributor announced a unified communications Hosted Collaboration Solution powered by Cisco Systems Inc. and hosted by Ingram Micro. Today, the distributor is adding three additional hosted services: Ingram Micro Hosted Exchange, Ingram Micro Virtual Private Server, and Ingram Micro Web Hosting.

According to Renee Bergeron, vice president of cloud computing at Ingram Micro, whose expanded responsibilities include global cloud sales and marketing, the company is leveraging the capabilities of SoftCom, which it acquired in September 2013, to roll out these new services to its reseller partners.

The new services will be rolled out first in the U.S. and Canada, beginning this quarter, then in Mexico, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

To spur partners to accelerate their cloud business without a big upfront investment, Ingram Micro announced new "white glove" services that run the gamut from business, sales, technical sales engineering, migration and onboarding, service desk, and remote infrastructure management.

"There are investments that resellers need to make to support their customers with cloud solutions, but not all partners have the ability to do this, and servicing a cloud solution is different than servicing on-premises solutions. So we're launching these services to help resellers not only during the sales cycle, but to help them engineer the solution, set up it, and support it on an ongoing basis," Bergeron said.

The next generation of the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, powered by Parallels, will be rolled out in the U.S. and Canada this quarter. Boasting new functionality that leverages the capability of Parallels' software and the expertise of the SoftCom organization, partners will get a new streamlined end-user experience, according to Ingram Micro.

The Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace represents a network of buyers, sellers and solutions that enable rapid adoption of cloud services. With just a couple "clicks," partners can accelerate time to market and time to cloud, including procurement, provisioning and management of a reseller's cloud services.

The next-gen Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace is scheduled to roll out in Mexico in the third quarter and in Europe in the fourth quarter.

Recognizing that partners are at different stages of adopting and implementing a cloud business strategy, Ingram Micro is expanding its channel program with two new cloud-related engagement options: the Cloud Referral Program and Cloud Private Label Program. Launching later this quarter, the expanded channel program offers partners a total of three engagement models to choose from.

The first engagement model, called the Cloud Resale Program, is basically business as usual for current resellers, according to Bergeron. In other words, resellers continue to engage with Ingram Micro as they do today. So, these partners can continue to do business with Ingram Micro, selling products and services -- including onboarding, integration, help desk and invoicing -- as they always have.

The Cloud Referral Program, meanwhile, is for partners interested in marketing and selling cloud solutions and services to their customers. Leveraging Ingram Micro experts to manage the service on the back end, partners will receive compensation with an upfront commission and/or an ongoing percentage of the revenue.

The other new engagement model, the Cloud Private Label Program, is for resellers that have already made a significant investment in building their cloud practice. These solution providers and managed service providers will be able to rebrand the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace and white-glove services as their own.

According to Bergeron, Ingram Micro added almost 900 reseller partners globally in the past year -- a figure that has been consistent over the past several years -- with the bulk of a partner's cloud activity in North America.

"Partners have asked for multiple ways to go to market, and with the expanded engagement models in our partner program, we give those choices based on [partners'] investment and maturity," said Jason Bystrak, senior director of cloud computing at Ingram Micro Americas.

Ingram Micro continues to make investments in people, processes and platforms to build its cloud business. The distributor has over 120 people dedicated to its cloud business today, according to Bergeron. The company also gained a team of over 100 people, via its SoftCom acquisition, with expertise in building products and customer service.

About 1,000 reseller partners are attending Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2014, which is up from last year's 820 attendees.

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