Ingram Micro Cloud unit fine-tunes Office 365 options, adds services help

Ingram Micro is rolling out a number of cloud-related enhancements, including more granular options around Office 365 and service delivery help; it's also adding a 24/7/365 Level 1 support desk for the entire IT environment.

At the opening of Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2015 today in Phoenix, the distributor continued to solidify its relevance with partners in the cloud space with five cloud-related announcements.

Four of the five announcements directly target partners: Cloud Ignite Services, Microsoft Office 365 availability in the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, Ingram Micro Cloud Elevate, and an expanded cloud marketplace portfolio. The fifth offering, Ingram Micro Service Desk, handles customer support on behalf of partners.

Ingram Micro Service Desk. This offering is a 7/24/365 global support desk that allows the distributor to take Level 1 customer calls on behalf of a partner firm. The subscription service supports the entire IT environment including cloud solutions.

The new service desk offering is particularly important for partners that want to build up a cloud practice. "With cloud, the technology is off the end user's premises so when the customer needs to call someone, the partner has to have someone to take a customer's call," said Jason Bystrak, executive director for Ingram Micro Cloud in the Americas.

Not having a service desk could slow down cloud growth. And for partners that do have some service capability, the new service desk offering could allow them to scale on a cost-effective basis, Ingram Micro said. Partners can brand and bundle the new service and add a new annuity stream to their business.

Cloud Ignite Services. Cloud Ignite Services is designed to help resellers scale their cloud business faster and more effectively by filling in gaps in their service delivery capability anywhere from presale to after the deal is done. Ingram Micro services include presale design and proposals for cloud solutions, data migration and implementation for cloud, and Level 2 support desk on behalf of the partner.

"Partners with limited support desk capabilities or [those] looking for better scale … could opt to use our Level 1 and Level 2 service offerings in tandem," Bystrak said.

Enhanced channel model for Microsoft Office 365. Certified as a Microsoft Cloud Service Provider, Ingram Micro is offering an enhanced channel model for Microsoft Office 365 through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, through which partners can purchase, provision and manage consumption and invoice Office 365 subscriptions on a monthly basis.

This offering wraps around Ingram Micro's service delivery using SkyKick data migration services and project planning. "We can also add on our Level 1 or Level 2 service desks," Bystrak said.

Up until today, partners were able to purchase Office 365 through Ingram Micro; however, it was on an annual basis and didn't include any service delivery capability.

"The previous offering drove some business, but some partners still didn't have the skills sets and because it wasn't a monthly model it wasn't interesting to many partners," Bystrak noted.

Ingram Micro Cloud Elevate. This loyalty program rewards partners for growing their business and investing in cloud. The program offers enablement for partners via education, marketing services and business transformation services, as well as partner discounts from third-party vendors.

Expanded Cloud Marketplace portfolio. Ingram Micro now has nine vendors and 35 solutions in its Cloud Marketplace portfolio. Newcomers include Microsoft Office 365; SkyKick migration services; security offerings from McAfee, Trend Micro and Cirius; a cloud backup solution from Acronis; Nomadesk for file sharing and synchronization; RingCentral for hosted voice; and a healthcare suite that includes a collaboration solution intended to meet compliance requirements for healthcare providers.

All of the new services are now available to North American channel partners.

Ingram Micro beefed up its cloud-dedicated staff, to 700 up from 210 at this time last year, to build and deliver the new offerings.

According to Bystrak, Ingram Micro expects to attract new partner types -- telcos, software integrators, systems integrators -- as well as additional managed service providers with the introduction of the new services.

"These partners haven't even heard of us until cloud," he said.

The distributor reported that several dozen new partners are coming on board monthly and expects that number will continue to grow over time.

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