Ingram Micro’s CloudBlue: Now What?
Ingram Micro’s global cloud strategy got a lot broader with the announcement earlier this week of CloudBlue, a new independent cloud platform division. Separate from Ingram Micro’s Marketplace, the division is focused on selling its CloudBlue commerce platform and services to larger service providers, such as MSPs, telecommunication companies, large VARs and other distributors.
CloudBlue software is a cloud commerce and XaaS platform that powers the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace as well as cloud operations for 200 of the world’s largest service providers such as Sprint, CenturyLink, Cogeco, Telefonica, O2, Telenor, Telekom Austria, AmericaMovil, Cobweb, GTI, Copaco, PCM and Telstra. Ingram Micro has been investing in CloudBlue for a number of years, and has included intellectual property and assets from several acquisitions including Odin, in late 2015, and Ensim, in 2016.
What does all look like to Ingram Micro’s global partners?
“We’re past digital transformation; now we’re at hyperscale,” David Wippich, CTO and senior vice president, global cloud, Ingram Micro, told audience members this week at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. “I have to think about supporting hundreds of million seats, billions of accounts and subscriptions — that’s why we talk about hyperscale. And, what happens when we launch IoT and need to power that and all the devices that are connected and all of those subscriptions?”
Wippich outlined the three pillars the distributor’s strategy: access to an infinite ecosystem; support for any path to market for ISVs, resellers and other partners; and services and support.
Access to an infinite ecosystem means that Ingram Micro wants to automate, orchestrate and monetize over 200 ISVs in 47 countries with its Application Packaging Standard (APS) technology. APS is a way to integrate a commerce platform with an ISV’s SaaS and XaaS solution. In April 2017, Ingram Micro announced accelerated service deployment and onboarding using APS Connect. At that time, the distributor said that ISVs who want to sell their services through Ingram Micro’s global channel footprint could quickly design, test and publish their solutions in just a few clicks. It also enabled service providers the capability to automate their own services and get access to a significantly expanded cloud services catalog. Ingram Micro’s APS Connect Early Access Program became available at that time.
Wippich talked about the three flavors of APS: APS QuickStart; APS Connect; and APS Advanced, each offering more in-depth integration. For example, APS QuickStart allows orders to be received for services without a traditional API integration and can be released in hours, while APS Connect is for services that are API-enabled. APS Advanced is for services integration or platform module feature development that requires complex business models.
Ingram Micro is developing service and support services, such as managed support services, professional support services and technical support services to help ISVs advance their offerings in the market.
The distributor recognizes that partners take different routes to market, such as the referral program, which will be introduced on a global basis later this year for all ISVs, or the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. Wippich announced that in June, the company will roll out version 7.4 of the marketplace with 90 new features. Finally, there’s CloudBlue.
Ingram Micro said that it’s delivering complete automation for any partner business model including marketplace, service catalog, subscription management, billing and invoicing, provisioning, reporting and business intelligence, channel enablement and platform.
Expect to see Ingram Micro expand and evolve its cloud platform over the next year. Version 7.5 is already being designed with an expected release date sometime in Q4.
“This is what hyperscale looks like — don’t be scared,” Wippich said.