Ingram Micro has announced that it will purchase Toronto-based SoftCom, a cloud and Web service provider. Although Ingram has been early to the game in terms of building up a cloud linecard at distribution, this is the first time the company has made an acquisition in the space.
Privately-held SoftCom, which offers a variety of services including cloud infrastructure, domain name management, Web design, and Web hosting under brands including myhosting.com and mail2web.com, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ingram Micro, but retain autonomy. Co-founder Turker Sokullu, who’s led the company since its 1997 debut, will join Ingram as executive director, reporting to Ingram’s global cloud boss, Nimesh Dave.
Since its debut of its Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace in 2010, the distributor has built up a linecard of more than 150 cloud offerings from more than 50 cloud vendors. Purchasing SoftCom continues that expansion, said Renée Bergeron, vice president of managed services and cloud computing for Ingram Micro North America.
“We were first out of the gate, and our vision was always to have this aggregation marketplace, a place for partners to order, provision, and manage cloud solutions on behalf of their customers from one portal. SoftCom fits into that vision perfectly,” Bergeron said.
A look at its customer base shows that SoftCom has counted a number of Ingram Micro resellers as its customers in the past, but the company has never had a formal channel program or viewed the IT channel as a sell-through route. That’s where Ingram fits in, and where Bergeron says the distributor believes it can grow the business significantly. The distributor has never before offered some of SoftCom’s services, most notably domain name services and Web design, and also expands the options for Ingram in a number of errors, including hosting and some cloud-based apps.
“These are all solutions for which our resellers have a lot of demand, so there’s real benefit here for our channel partners,” she said.
Some of SoftCom’s services will compete with existing cloud vendors on its linecard, but Ingram’s modus operandi in the cloud and elsewhere has always been to feature products from competitive vendors and highlight each one’s differentiation and points of strength. Nothing changes because SoftCom is closer to the belt, Bergeron said. “From my perspective, [Softcom is] another vendor on the linecard,” she said.
While SoftCom is the company’s first acquisition in the space, it’s not the first time the distributor has directly offered a cloud-based service to the channel community. Last year, it developed a unified communications offering based on Cisco’s Hosted Collaboration Solution, and that came to market across North America in February. The distributor will continue to primarily partner with cloud vendors to expand its linecard, but will look at other acquisitions opportunistically, Bergeron said.
“Where we see the need for a first-grade solution in a category, we’ll step in and become a service provider,” she said.
In addition to expanding its linecard in its growing cloud business, which now counts 4,300 North American solution providers as customers, Bergeron said the deal made sense because its allows the distributor to “gain very rapidly some outstand skill sets in the cloud markets, skillsets that are pretty unique in a market that’s still pretty nascent,” giving it a time-to-market advantage.