It’s phase two of Ingram’s overall cloud strategy, introduced earlier this year, that includes the launch of its Cloud Marketplace for hooking resellers up with cloud-based solutions as well as the new Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network for hooking resellers up with cloud architecture and deployment services.
“When we look at the cloud, we look at it as an opportunity for both us as a distributor and our reseller community,” said Jason Beal, director of services sales for North America at Ingram Micro. “A lot of what we do every day, and our resellers do every day to be relevant – adding value and savings costs – will apply to the cloud.”
Ingram’s role, he said, is that of a services aggregator. And it’s a familiar role for the distie, one that it’s taken in a broader managed services motion with its Seismic division for years.
The Cloud Marketplace functions very similarly to the role Seismic has played for those looking to add managed services to their mix, creating a link between cloud vendors and resellers looking to jump into the game. At launch time, the vendors represented in the marketplace are a mix of hardware, software and managed services, both old and new faces on the Ingram Micro linecard. Prominent names offered on the site include Autotask, CA, IBM, Level Platforms, McAfee, Microsoft, and Rackspace Hosting.
“More and more cloud vendors want a route to market and distribution will be that route,” Beal said. “It’s a natural fit for us, and we can offer a single source to learn about [the cloud] and to start to do business – it’s one-stop shopping.”
Likewise, the Cloud Services Network aims to add depth to a partner’s services bench where they don’t have experience or expertise. Beal said the goal is to avoid resellers having to turn down an opportunity to put in a cloud solution because of lack of in-house expertise, and the group will focus not only on delivering solutions but mentoring partners.
“The idea is that they learn by doing, by shadowing these cloud consultancies they’re finding out what opportunities are out there and figuring out where they should hire or train to do it themselves,” Beal said.
By basing the new cloud structure on its managed services experience with Seismic, Beal said the distributor has “done all the hard work” and has a ready-made foundation to its program. That includes services, alternative billing arrangements, a focus on recurring revenues and experience in helping resellers through market transformations, as well as other, more esoteric concerns, such as evolving its brand beyond the traditional pick-pack-and-ship functionality.
“Customers see Ingram as a services and managed services company rather than just a product company, and resellers are looking to us for guidance on that transformation [to the cloud],” Beal said. “Everything we’ve learned from Seismic positions us very well to capitalize on our leadership position as the premier services aggregator.”
Also like Seismic, the distributor is offering its cloud-computing strategy North America-wide, although Beal said that due to some of the cross-border concerns in dealing with the cloud, the distributor will forge deals of a continental scope when it makes sense and will opt for partnerships with specific Canadian providers where needed to meet regulations and customer comfort levels.
“We’re definitely going to sign up local Canadian vendors to meet those needs for our local Canadian reseller partners,” Beal said.
Ingram’s new cloud site will be publicly accessible for a first round of information, but Ingram resellers can request a user name and password to get access to more information and programs.