Transitioning to the Cloud: One Distributor’s Perspective
Over the past few weeks it has been my goal to speak to different people about solution providers’ transition to the cloud, mainly to see if the answers I get are any different. For the most part, conversations have run along a similar vein—start slow, don’t disrupt your current business model, and if you’re going to get into the cloud, do it now because you’re running out of time.
My discussion with Renee Bergeron, vice president of Global Cloud Computing, Ingram Micro Cloud, was no different. (Sorry to disappoint.) She noted of the 30,000 or so resellers actively buying from Ingram Micro, about 5,000 have active Cloud Marketplace subscriptions. “That’s a decent portion of our reseller base and that shows some level of adoption,” she said. Which tells me more solution providers are realizing they need to act now if they want to get into cloud services, before they get left behind.
Bergeron noted the majority of resellers are starting with simple solutions—email as a service, backup and recovery services, security—to create opportunities for them that don’t cannibalize other parts of their business. Also, she said, such services are familiar to most resellers, which for the most part have offered such technologies in an on-premises model.
“If you think of typical resellers, traditionally they’ve operated in the infrastructure layer, from the database downward,” she said. “So solutions such as email or security or backup and recovery is right up their alley from a competency standpoint. We advise them to start with their competency and look for solutions that fit.”
But, she added, pigeonholing for too long could present a risk to the reseller. “As more things move into the cloud, if resellers don’t make transition to work above the database layer, they will reduce their addressable market.”
Bergeron doesn’t see a set time frame in which resellers must transition to the cloud— What’s important, she said, is to plan that transition.
“It is a business transformation where you have to sell differently and articulate your value proposition,” Bergeron noted. “It’s a different message than feeds and speeds. Plus, most buyers of cloud solutions are not in IT, they are business leaders. Everything changes, so you have to look at whole model.”
Bergeron made her comments during an interview at Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2015, where Ingram Micro announced the expansion of its Cloud Marketplace to Italy, Spain, Sweden and New Zealand, bringing the number of country-specific Marketplace sites to 13. The company also announced a program under which channel partners can seamlessly convert Office 365 Advisor subscriptions to the Cloud Solutions Provider program, enabling them to keep their customer billing capability, and, therefore, the customer relationship.
In addition, Ingram Micro announced Cloud Store, which enables resellers to create and manage a B2C online cloud store, with their own brand and delivered as an extension of their existing website, according to the press release.