AUSTIN – At the CompTIA ChannelCon here, distributor Ingram Micro has announced their new Cloud Intelligence program. Developed with The 2112 Group, the program includes data and a new online tool for partners to benchmark their cloud practices.
“This project was several months in the making,” said Jason Bystrak, Ingram Micro’s Executive Director, Technology Partner Enablement. “Cloud adoption is never as fast as anyone wants it to be, and we wanted to take a little different approach. We had The 2112 Group undertake a research project on the cloud business where we invited partners to participate. We wanted to provide an overall research approach that would help partners to benchmark themselves against their peers. It would also drive a little competitiveness in the channel around cloud. We have just published the report.”
A core strategic objective is to get partners to think more strategically and less opportunistic about the cloud.
“We focused on the financial changes that need to happen around cloud as well as the operational changes,” Bystrak said “A lot of partners are still opportunistic about cloud. We want them to be more proactive around cloud.”
Bystrak said that this is especially critical around Office 365.
“Office 365 has been wildly successful,” he said. “More than two-thirds of our business coming in relates to the cloud business under Microsoft. They are adding related products, when someone like Cisco introduces a product like Spark. But they don’t do it systematically. They wait for the vendor to change. Instead of being pushed to change by the vendor, we want them to be able to pull the vendor.”
For Ingram Micro, Bystrak said that while Ingram Micro has an important depth play, measured by the number of new cloud partners who are with them each month, this particular project is about breadth – how much value each partner attaches.
“Partners are opportunistic,” he said. “They don’t reach for the second or third part of the solution stack. This shows them how to do that. They can track to see what their attach rate is to Office 365.”
Bystrak said that partners looking to succeed in the cloud might also include looking at alternative vendors who are born in the cloud.
“Many of these vendors aren’t getting enough adoption by the channel,” he said. “If a legacy vendor isn’t moving fast enough for the cloud motion, there are good cloud alternatives out there. Some of the born-in-the-cloud types are shrugging their shoulders, saying the channel isn’t helping them fast enough. Part of my new role is getting these vendors to work more with the channel.”
The online tool is the 2112 Group Cloud Altimeter. It uses the data gleaned from the participating partners to evaluate the relative state of readiness and performance of an IT service provider’s cloud practice, in comparison to others.
“They have access to the research data, and to the benchmarking information, so they can see how they stack up,” Bystrak said. It also has a cloud readiness planning tool so that they can build a better cloud strategy and increase their ROI.”
“We will also be working with The 2112 Group to follow up on this,” Bystrak added.
Bystrak also pointed out that this kind of information should be valuable to many of their larger partners as well of the smaller ones.
“That top tier of partners aren’t moving fast enough on cloud,” he said. “They have a big product and on-prem business that are successful, so change isn’t that exciting to them. When I was at the Microsoft Inspire event, I noticed that they changed their segmentation to let us sell upmarket where we weren’t really encouraged before. That’s because Microsoft’s larger cloud partners weren’t driving their cloud business as hard as they wanted – so they let their next tier of partners get at it.”