eGroup was one of three U.S. partners to win the Depth Partner Award at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit X.

Lynn Haber

March 21, 2019

5 Min Read
Point of View, perspective
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There was a diverse group of partners represented at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit X, held last week in San Diego. The one thing that all have in common — cloud. Cloud fits somewhere in most of their businesses; the question is, where? Where along Ingram Micro’s “Cloud Awesomeness Roadmap” are these partners?

Channel Futures talked to several partners to find out more about their cloud practices. Here’s a look at one — eGroup.

Twenty-year old Charleston, South Carolina-based eGroup, was one of three U.S.-based partners that picked up this year’s Ingram Micro Cloud partner award in the depth category; the distributor defines depth partners as those that sell 10 or more cloud offers, with complexity of the solutions they take to market being a differentiator. This includes infrastructure as a service (IaaS). The other two honorees were GreenPages and Interworks.

Clearly, the company wasn’t born in the cloud, but it ascended and did it with honors; in fact, eGroup went through several iterations of growth to get where they are today, beginning with pulling itself up by the bootstraps.

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eGroup’s Jason Webster

“It started with smart people doing projects, hiring your first person, then another and so on,” said Jason Webster, principal, mid-Atlantic practice at eGroup. When he joined eGroup in 2008, there were nine people. At that time, eGroup was focused on the data center — storage, network and compute solutions.

“Solutions with Citrix and obviously, Microsoft, the work was very project-based,” he said.

eGroup customers were in financial services, law firms and other industry verticals.

Webster describes eGroup’s history in three phases. The early phase was when the company focused on physical servers, storage and other capabilities that required consulting services, people getting paid for what they know and being able to execute on a large variety of problems.

Then came virtualization.

“We were an early VMware partner which led us to different vendors such as Cisco, EMC and other network and storage manufacturers required to build our virtualization-based solutions in the data center. That required helping people do P to V, or physical to virtual,” he said.

When Webster joined the company, eGroup had just formally launched an application practice that focused on Microsoft and supporting enterprise applications, such as SharePoint and Exchange, web apps, SQL databases, management systems — all of the things to help the data center operate smoothly and deliver information to end users.

This phase prepared eGroup for where things are today.

“We saw the future, which is software-defined everything,” he said. “We were able to blend applications expertise with data center know-how, which is exactly what the cloud is all about.”

Today, eGroup is a depth partner within the Azure skill set, responding to an increasing number of business leaders who view IT in terms of business value, productivity and resiliency rather than storage or servers.

eGroup is on pace to do about $6 million in Azure influence or direct sales this year. From a product standpoint, Azure makes up about 20 percent of the partner’s revenue, Webster says. The company pairs what it believes is the best public cloud with …

… on-premises solutions and everything in between, creating modern hybrid-cloud infrastructures. eGroup works with ISV co-sell solutions and connects them to their cloud counterparts,  selling them as a complete bundled solution.

For eGroup, it’s all about focus and depth. Webster talked about the depth of the relationship between eGroup and Ingram Micro.

“We challenge each other pretty heavily. Not everything works; there are frustrations and limitations, but we go back and forth, and we solve problems together,” he said. “It helps them, and it helps us.”

While many partners struggle with depth knowledge, eGroup has a lot of expertise across a variety of topics. Most partners struggle with some of that depth knowledge — other than the basic lift and shift.

“Our experience is in applications; the majority of our cloud team are programmers and we also have extensive experience in security in the data center — all of which allow us to take what is now a software-defined future, whether it’s networking or on-demand applications, just-in-time IT, all of those things with Microsoft Azure, and go beyond that lift-and-shift managed service,” Webster explained.

The sweet spot for eGroup customers is in the 1,500-2,500 employee range; however, the number of users in a client company isn’t the best metric by which to measure a customer. There are a lot of small companies doing a lot of big things. Webster told us that some of the company’s largest cloud customers have fewer than 100 employees consuming millions of dollars a year in cloud services.

Looking ahead, eGroup’s focus is to go faster and further.

“The idea here is that we’re intentionally paring down the solutions in our portfolio to focus and go deeper on very specific, repeatable and highly efficient outcomes that we can deliver to our clients. Over the next two to three years, we’re going to continue to narrow that focus to do what we want, to be known for in Azure as well as in a collection of smart software-based solutions that are in that ecosystem that will help us drive that success,” said Webster.

eGroup’s business predominantly has been in the Southeast with moves into the mid-Atlantic. The company plans to expand nationwide and grow the company fivefold through a variety of moves.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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