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Ingram Micro has been a leading advocate of embracing the cloud and making sure that the channel is positioned to serve current and future customer needs. The distributor held an event in London this week, a UK Cloud Summit, where it provided resellers with an update into its thinking.
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The theme of the Summit was to 'innovate, grow and thrive' in the cloud and a few of the distributor's executives took some time to encapsulate the content of the event.
Apay Obang-Oyway, director of cloud and software UK&I at Ingram Micro, was keen to stress the opportunities the shifting landscape offered partners.
"The adoption of cloud is happening and its happening at a great rate. If you take for example the latest Cloud Industry Forum research adoption is now at 83% in the market so there is some interesting research out there," he said.
"We are at the start of the fourth industrial revolution. The drivers of that are IoT, big data, social and cloud that underpins all of that. While it is all very good and exciting it is bringing a lot of disruption, which you can look at negatively or positively. Within that there is a load of opportunity for channel partners but you have to understand this is a different reality and it is no longer business as usual, its business unusual. The opportunity is huge and represents significant numbers," he added.
Most of the major analyst houses have made forecasts that come in at billions in terms of the money that will be spent on public cloud, infrastructure and the services that can be wrapped around that.
"it is a huge market and huge opportunity out there. When you start thinking about this world it is intelligent augmented integration. It delivers intelligence and gives you a lot of insight into where we are as organisations and individuals and that intelligence delivers growth of data and augmentation, but it must be integrated. How do you intelligently integrate all of the services available to you in an intelligent way," he said.
Resellers will have to think carefully about where they play a role in this world because it is not going to be possible to 'be all things to all men' and they must decide where they can best add value.
"Specialisation is going to be key, particularly when you think about the opportunity that is going to be infrastructure as a service," he added.
"If you look at what is happening in the market today the differentiators you will see with Ingram is that we are executing on exactly what we said we would do in the cloud. Secondly we are becoming far more of a technology company. If you look at those thriving in this fourth industrial revolution you need to have that technical ability in your company," said Obang-Oyway.
Ingram purchased cloud platform player Odin to help deliver those technical pieces of the jigsaw and that addition has changed the services it can offer resellers.
Alex Fine, EMEA sales director at Odin, said that it was in a position to provide resellers with a platform that could help them sell cloud services and transform their business.
"For IT providers there is an option to enter this market and there is a necessity to get there because if you don't then you risk becoming irrelevant. If you are not going to be offering recurring fee-based offering then you are becoming a strange provider," he said.
Fine said that SMEs would stop buying perpetual licenses soon and resellers had to become more widely versed in subscription services.
"We are providing an engine to our partners that can support any subscription based service. Part of the engine is billing and you can sell cloud services but you can also sell non cloud services so you can sell whatever you want in a subscription-based way," he added.
"Ingram Micro is offering quite a broad development and engine for the partners to evolve to be excellent players in this new world," he added.
One of the final pieces of the jigsaw is services and Comms-care, another business acquired by Ingram, is providing the support needed for those resellers that might otherwise struggle to help customers.
Simon Day, professional services director at Comms-care, said that it could help resellers make the right decisions around on-prem, hybrid or public cloud.
He said that it had service consultants that had been traditionally on-prem but were now trained in the cloud so could see both main approaches the channel could take.
"We see our role as supporting the channel. It's not just about delivering some very capable consulting and engineering expertise it is also about how proactively we approach the marketplace. We have come up in cloud a number of shrink wrap offerings for channel partners," he added "We are creating a lot of collateral and a lot of noise in this place to support the channel."
Ingram itself has transformed as well and is a very different beast to the broadliner of old. Obang-Oyway said that there had been significant changes to the business in the last few years and the speed of evolution had speeded up as it responded to the market.
"From a cloud perspective we talk about being a master cloud service provider. We have technology, we have execution capability and a vast portfolio. So it is a very different beast and is changing every day," he concluded.