March 13, 2019
(Pictured above: Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster on stage at Ingram Micro Cloud X in San Diego, March 12.)
INGRAM MICRO CLOUD SUMMIT — Celebrating a decade of its cloud business with partners, Ingram Micro kicked off Cloud Summit X in San Diego Tuesday with a couple of its biggest technology partners — Microsoft and IBM.
One year after forming its independent cloud platform division – CloudBlue – and a strategic alliance with Microsoft that allows CloudBlue to run on Azure, the partners not only touted their success to date – Ingram Micro has more than 850 engineers supporting the platform and with channel partners has sold more than 30 million seats – but Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft’s corporate VP, One Commercial Partner, began the day on stage talking about “The Power of Partnership.”
Microsoft’s Gavriella Schuster
“I want to thank all of you for taking a chance, moving forward with cloud services, thinking about how you change your businesses and how we move together to capture this opportunity at this particular moment in time in the market today,” she told 1,500 attendees. “What I want to talk about today is the opportunity ahead and how this opens up an opportunity for us to have a completely different level of partnership than we have ever had before.”
With that, Schuster talked about how Microsoft is moving from partnering to partnership, moving from a 40-year history of a very traditional supply-chain model type of relationship with partners to something new.
“Services changes our role, changes your role, changes Ingram’s role completely, along with customer expectations that have changed completely,” she said. “Technology is actually the product that our customers are selling.”
The modern customer requires mass customization of one, or anything they want the partner can deliver, which sets a very high bar for the channel and its tech partners to meet.
Schuster talked about how Microsoft helps partners deliver what customers want via the vendor’s three cloud strategy: productivity, Azure and business applications — plus a level of security. Partners add the managed services – management, workflow, business processes and so on – which creates the truly differentiated and seamless experience.
She also put in a plug for Teams, as the biggest opportunity in front of partners today, contending that a year from now customers will spend half of their time in Teams environments, engaging in a full communications experience.
What does that opportunity look like? It’s about building managed services around Teams, such as adoption and management of services but also new workflows and new applications to deliver new, rich experiences to customers.
Addressing the charges that Microsoft increasingly is going direct, Schuster said that couldn’t be further from the truth because cloud services demand that everyone step up their game, and that Microsoft couldn’t deliver on its mission without the partner who makes it possible.
Also on the Ingram Micro Cloud X stage Tuesday was Steve Robinson, Synergy executive, Red Hat at IBM, who talked about “The Future of IBM Cloud,” namely hybrid multicloud and Big Blue’s impending acquisition of Red Hat.
David Wippich, chief technology officer and senior vice president, global cloud at Ingram Micro, spoke about “Connecting to the Future” and how the distributor delivers technology to partners and customers. He talked about emerging technology trends, such as AI, BI, machine learning (ML) and the three pillars of Ingram Micro’s technology strategy: hyperscale platform, access to an infinite ecosystem, and acceleration of services and tools.
While Wippich didn’t make any announcements, he did provide some insights as to the direction the distributor’s compass is pointing — for example, data visualization and reporting, blockchain for business, and the optimization of the CloudBlue platform. Ingram Micro is deploying it in a fully native Azure environment and delivering it to partners with additional features coming out over the course of the year.
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