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News & Articles

April 3, 2018 |

Ingram Micro to Look Beyond SaaS at 2018 Cloud Summit

Content at the distributor’s cloud computing partner conference, which begins April 30th, will seek to guide attendees down a “path to profitability” from software as a service to new opportunities in infrastructure as a service, security, and the Internet of Things.

Ingram Micro Inc. has announced speakers and sessions for the 2018 edition of its Cloud Summit conference, revealing an agenda that showcases cloud-related market opportunities beyond software as a service.

Scheduled to run April 30th to May 2nd in Boca Raton, Fla., the ninth annual Ingram Micro Cloud Summit will feature general session and breakout content aimed at guiding attendees down a “path to profitability” in the cloud that should only begin with reselling productivity solutions like Microsoft‘s Office 365 productivity and collaboration suite, according to Renee Bergeron, Irvine, Calif.-based Ingram’s senior vice president of global cloud channel.

“If that’s where they end, they’re leaving money on the table,” she says.

To underscore the breadth of ways channel pros can generate revenue in the cloud, Ingram Micro has adopted “infinite” as the Cloud Summit’s overarching theme.

“While it’s a cloud-focused event, the cloud actually brings many different possibilities,” Bergeron says. “That’s where the concept of infinite comes from.”

Infrastructure as a service, which Bergeron described as an underexploited opportunity at last year’s Cloud Summit, is one of the online revenue streams Ingram will be encouraging attendees to pursue this year as well. In recent months, the company has introduced an enablement program for partners new to the Microsoft Azure public cloud and doubled the number of IaaS associates on its U.S. payroll. Those investments answer rising demand for IaaS assistance, according to Tim FitzGerald, vice president of cloud channel sales for North America in the Ingram Micro Cloud group.

“We’re seeing a significant increase in partner interest and requests for help in increasing their competencies in this key area,” he says. “We see it as a huge growth opportunity for our partners, both in SMB and beyond.”

The Cloud Summit agenda includes sessions on other markets with a link to cloud computing and high growth potential, including cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Rodney Clark, Microsoft’s vice president of IoT and mixed reality sales, will discuss the last of those technologies in a main stage keynote on the morning of May 1st.

Other keynote speakers slated to appear include Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president for commercial partners, channels, and programs at Microsoft Corp.; Sanjay Poonen, COO for customer operations at VMware Inc.; and Bill McDermott, CEO of SAP SE.

According to FitzGerald, it’s no accident that all those vendors devote as much if not more attention to big businesses than to SMBs. While SMB partners continue to be a major part of Ingram’s cloud business, enterprise-oriented firms are playing an increased role as well, and the company tailored the Cloud Summit agenda to reflect those changing demographics.

“I think it’s indicative of the broadening of the partner ecosystem population and their participation at the event,” FitzGerald says. “We’re seeing significantly larger partners going much deeper in developing and augmenting their cloud strategy.”

Schuster is set to participate in Ingram’s seventh annual “Women in Technology” panel discussion on the afternoon of April 30th. Other speakers at that session include Dao Jensen, CEO of San Francisco-based solution provider Kaizen Technology Partners; Gina Mastantuono, CFO of Ingram Micro’s cloud organization; and Janet Schijns, executive vice president and chief merchant and services officer at Office Depot.

For all the content on the Cloud Summit agenda about new opportunities like IaaS and IoT, Ingram sees plenty of additional upside in software as a service. “We continue to do big things in the Office 365 space,” FitzGerald says.

Microsoft 365, the bundled combination of Office 365 with endpoint protection, mobile device management, and system administration tools that Microsoft introduced last July and officially put into general availability some three months later, has been generating especially encouraging initial sales numbers, adds Bergeron.

“The conversation with the end user is a simplified one because of the value that’s driven, and it provides the opportunity for more revenue for the partner, so traction’s been really good,” she says.

Ingram now has native-language, local-currency cloud marketplaces operating in 47 countries around the world, including China, which joined that club in December. According to Bergeron, rolling out further marketplaces will be less of a priority in the months ahead.

“We feel that we’ve got good coverage right now,” she says. “What we’re very focused on this year is focusing and doubling down in the areas where we’ve already made investments.”

Though Ingram declined to provide specifics on product and service announcements it will make during this year’s Cloud Summit, FitzGerald suggests they’ll include new cloud marketplace functionality and listings.

“We have many partners coming to us looking for efficient ways to represent a broader portfolio of solutions,” he says. “You’ll hear from us about enhancements to the platform. You’ll also see throughout the event some exciting opportunities with both new vendors and new solutions.”

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