Armed with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Office 365, Ingram Micro's cloud business in Europe sounds like it's gaining serious momentum. Indeed, Ingram (NYSE:IM) partners are driving roughly 50 percent of Office 365's distribution sales across Europe, Ingram estimates. Moreover, the distributor is helping channel partners to wrap additional services around Microsoft's cloud suite.
Those milestones surfaced during a Talkin' Cloud discussion with multiple Ingram leaders from Europe, including Jason Beal, senior director, advanced solutions and cloud service, Ingram Micro. Here's an around-the-table recap of the conversation:
1. Pete Walker, a member of Ingram's UK team
Roughly 12 to 18 months ago, Ingram had roughly 100 Office 365 partners. Today, the distributor has 700 Office 365 partners -- 187 of which have arrived in the past quarter. Walker believes Ingram has 65 percent Office 365 market share through distribution in the UK.
2. Apay Obang-Oyway, general manager of software, cloud and mobility cloud
Resellers in the region are now delivering enterprise-class IT at SMB value. "Roughly 18 months ago we talked about that as an aspiration. Today it's a reality.
3. Steffan Peterson, a cloud and software manager in Sweden; and David Ed, also in Sweden business development
"We're the market leader with Office 365 by far [in Sweden]," Peterson claimed. Ingram made an early commitment to BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite), the precursor to Office 365. Still, the market is still at a training stage, he concedes. Every Friday, Ingram offers educational webinars to fill that training gap, Ed added.
4. Benoit Boudrique, a cloud services expert representing France:
"We have nearly 1,000 partners now selling Office 365 in France. Helping partners to close their first deal has been the big priority." To fulfill that priority, Ingram Micro France now has seven people dedicated to cloud computing.
5. Joost Fhij, cloud business manager, Netherlands
Generally speaking, the Netherlands -- the Dutch -- are open to new business models. That means entrepreneurs have embraced managed services, remote monitoring and cloud services, Fhij asserts. Also, service provider licensing agreements (SPLAs) with hosting providers have been widely accepted in the country, especially since businesses want to keep their data local.
7. Stephan Boutboul, sales cloud execution in Europe
Before talking about the larger European market, Boutboul mentioned Ingram's growing cloud footprint in Germany -- where the company has about four cloud experts with about three more coming onto the team soon. Overall, Ingram now has 20 to 25 cloud experts driving the business across Europe.
"Saying we are 50% of the Microsoft Cloud market in Europe means we really are a main cloud vendor in Europe," said Boutboul. "But this story is more than an Office 365 reseller story. It's a transformational conversation with resellers that involves sales, marketing and business transformation.
8. Jason Beal, senior director, advanced solutions and cloud service, Ingram Micro
Beal previously helped Ingram to build its managed and cloud services business in North America. When he shifted to a European role, Beal figured Office 365 would be a rising tide that lifted all boats in the channel. But the real key would be helping channel partners to wrap more services around Office 365. Those options today include backup, security and IaaS.
"Two years ago, the European channel was uncertain about the cloud while the U.S. was already in activation stage," said Beal. "Today, the U.S. is in acceleration mode and Europe is in activation mode."
And clearly, Ingram wants to be the company driving those cloud applications.