Ingram Micro Partners With Skykick On Office 365
To say that the transition to Microsoft Office 365 has been something of a trauma for the channel would be putting things mildly. Not only does running Microsoft Office in the cloud present Microsoft (MSFT) channel partners with new business model challenges, the margins associated with delivering that service have been thin at best. This leaves many in the channel wondering: What’s available in today’s market that can alleviate some of these pains?
At the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2015 conference, Skykick, a provider of automation tools for IT service providers, and Ingram Micro announced today that partners of Ingram Micro will now be able to buy, sell, provision and manage Microsoft Office 365 services through the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace using service desk tools developed by Skykick.
Skykick co-CEO Todd Schwartz says the Skykick service desk tools for Microsoft Office 365 enables solution providers to deliver a managed service through which they can add value by offloading the management of Microsoft Office 365 provisioning from their customers.
For many solution providers, Jason Bystrak, executive director for the Americas within the Ingram Micro Cloud group, notes this approach creates an opportunity for solution providers to be more profitably engaged in the transition to Microsoft Office 365. End users are clearly starting to vote with their feet in terms of making that transition. But Bystrak said many channel partners have been sitting on the sidelines watching that transition because the only two ways for them to make money has been either as an agent or selling Microsoft Open licenses that make it simpler to move instance of Office from the desktop into the cloid.
Bystrak also said the Skykick approach makes it more feasible for solution providers to, for example, layer in additional security and governance services that can be accessed via the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
The Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace itself leverages the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Program, which enables channel partners to directly bill, provision, manage and support their Office 365 customers. As such, Bystrak notes that via the Office 365 application programming interface it is possible to also add value by building custom applications on top of the Microsoft cloud service, which can then be managed via Skykick.
The timing of this offering is also significant because in advance of end of life support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14th Microsoft has been aggressively pushing Exchange customers into the cloud as an alternative to upgrading to Windows Server 2008 or Windows Server 2012.
Like it or nor customers are moving to Office 365 for a wide variety reasons, including a preference for treating IT as an operating expense to the fact that the cloud provides more IT agility. As such, channel partners need to find a way to add value around those cloud services to stay relevant. Microsoft Office tends to be one of the most widely used set of applications in any business. Solution providers not directly engaged in the delivery of Microsoft Office just aren’t going to have the relationships needed later on to sell more profitable services elsewhere into the organization.