20 Cloud Services Takeaways: Ingram Micro Cloud Summit

20 Cloud Services Takeaways: Ingram Micro Cloud Summit

There were plenty of cloud services trends for MSPs and VARs at this week's Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, hosted by VP Renee Bergeron. You'll find all of our coverage on MSPmentor's sister site, Talkin' Cloud. But if you're pressed for time here are 20 key takeaways from the conference.

1. Same Challenges, Different Market: TruMethods CEO Gary Pica described the three big secrets to successful cloud sales and maximizing profits.

2. Think Of IT This Way: The desktop is now a service, not a device. And MSPs must master how to deliver a great service experience, Citrix Systems' Michael Fouts told attendees.

3. Defining Cloud Aggregators and Cloud Brokers: Don't be a basic cloud reseller. Instead, Gartner VP Tiffani Bova offered this guidance to MSPs.

4. Getting Cozy: Cisco Systems' Richard McLeod described how cloud-enabled collaboration will empower people. And he also hinted that Cisco and Citrix Systems are getting cozier.

5. Redefining the Company: Keith Bradley, president of Ingram Micro North America, asked attendees to stop thinking of Ingram as a distributor. Instead, use this term.

6. There's Money In Public Cloud: A lot of cloud pundits are telling MSPs to focus on private cloud and IaaS opportunities. But Appirio Chief Strategy Officer Narinder Singh offered this public cloud advice instead.

7. Government Cloud Opportunities: Ever wonder why the U.S. government stumbled with Information Technology? Trying to understand how and why the government needs cloud services? Former White House CIO Vivek Kundra shared these views.

8. Big Partnerships: Ingram Micro Cloud, an aggregator platform, gained multiple new partners -- including Salesforce.com, Amazon Web Services and ConnectWise (among many others).

9. Silent Battle: Speaking of ConnectWise, CEO Arnie Bellini showed up to tell attendees about ConnectWise, LabTech Software and Quosal working with the Ingram cloud. Not by coincidence, ConnectWise rival Autotask issued a press release reminding MSPs that Autotask and Ingram have a longstanding business relationship.

10. My Next Read: During an airport sit-down with Bellini, he handed me the book Escape Velocity by Geoffrey A. Moore. Within the acknowledgements, Moore offered this description of his work life: "Writing is a journey that takes you away from the present moment, and living with someone who is both present and not present can be deeply demanding. To find [my wife] there every time I come up for air is both miraculous and profoundly restorative, and without her gifts to me, I would have nothing to give others."

That life describes my life as a blogger -- and my relationship with my wife, Annemarie. Pretty amazing. Now, onto reading the actual book.

11. VDI Is Finally Ready for MSPs: That's the message from Ingram Micro, which announced two virtual desktop integration solution partners: dinCloud and (I need to grab the other company's name; I'm working offline at the moment -- stay tuned). Ingram in January 2011 didn't see any VDI opportunities worth pursuing. By November 2011, according to VP Renee Bergeron, Ingram issued an RFI in the VDI market. At that point the right solutions for MSPs finally surfaced. The VDI vetting process involved technology vetting, financial vetting and channel partner program vetting, Ingram officials told me.

12. Life-Work Balance: I met a Tucson, Ariz.-based MSP. He and his wife have adopted eight children. He is bringing the family to ConnectWise IT Nation later this year in Orlando, Fla. His entire family will make the trip to visit Disney World and family in Tampa Bay. Imagine adopting eight children and running an IT services business. Pretty amazing story, though I didn't want to reveal the family name here without permission... I hope we meet again at IT Nation.

13. Salesforce DreamForce: The Ingram Micro Cloud team will surface at DreamForce, the big Salesforce.com event later this year.

14. Managed Print Services: That's a big priority for Ingram Micro. Over 72 percent of MSPs are interested in managed print services, so Ingram launched an MPS partner program. Partners can white label the Ingram service.

15. Another Master CSP: CloudAny, a startup based near Detroit, Mich., is the latest company to host an integrated cloud platform that MSPs can resell to end-customers. CloudAny is leveraging ExtendASP, a cloud control panel vendor, to roll out Exchange 2010, SharePoint 2010, Lync 2010 and hosted desktops (XenApp and XenDesktop) through partners. The solution includes white label capabilities, self provisioning and 30-point margins ,the company claims.

In some ways, it sounds like CloudAny is seeking to compete with ChannelCloud (I think they have a Citrix-based control panel) and LevelCloud (which runs an OS33-based platform).

16. Missing But Still Partnering: Rackspace did not attend the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. Rackspace officials tell me they had scheduling conflicts but they say Rackspace and Ingram Micro remain close partners.

17. He Refused to Take No For An Answer: More than 700 people attended Ingram Micro Cloud Summit, and the Ingram Micro Cloud now has scores of partners. Several people at the event mentioned to me that at least some credit needs to go to former Ingram VP Justin Crotty, now at NetEnrich. Crotty and several other determined (stubborn?) people convinced Ingram to invest in managed services first (Ingram Micro Seismic) and then cloud services. Bottom Line: The "overnight" success of Ingram Micro Cloud was roughly seven years in the making. Dozens of people deserve credit, including Crotty.

18. Biggest Month Ever: That's the word from Intermedia Senior VP Bob Leibholz, who says demand for Intermedia's hosted Exchange platform continues to accelerate.

19. Google Apps Partners: Google is missing from Ingram's cloud partner lineup at the moment. But... Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps integrator, attended the Ingram conference. Cloud Sherpas grew 300 percent last year and recently merged with GlobalOne, a Salesforce.com integrator. At least one Cloud Sherpas employee at the conference was armed with a Samsung Chromebook running Chrome OS.

Not familiar with Chromebooks? I suggest you study up on them. I plan to do so as well.

20. Next Moves: Roughly 10 percent of Ingram's top cloud partners (VARs and MSPs) already have 1000 user seats in the cloud. I wonder: What steps are those 10 percent taking to reach 10,000 user seats in the cloud? And how are the profit margins shaping up so far?

I'm still seeking answers.

Thanks to those who reached out to me during Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. I enjoyed the conversations and learned quite a lot. I look forward to catching up with more readers at Autotask Community Live and LabTech Automation Nation, both next week in Orlando, Fla.



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