Ingram Micro Inc. is hosting roughly 90 of its most dedicated SMB channel partners this week at its annual SMB Alliance Unplugged conference in Buffalo, N.Y. And just as it did at its Cloud Summit event in April, the Irvine, Calif.-based distribution giant is offering up pointed advice on the right—and wrong—ways to build a profitable cloud business. Here’s a look at what conference-goers heard from Renee Bergeron, Ingram’s senior vice president of global cloud, on that topic today.
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No question about it, Bergeron says. Now is a great time to be an Office 365 reseller.
“We’re selling more mailboxes every quarter then we sold the prior quarter,” she notes.
As more and more channel pros climb on that gravy train, though, moving Office 365 seats is becoming a commoditized business.
“Just about everybody’s selling Office 365,” Bergeron says. “if you’re just selling Office 365, you’re seeing your cloud business grow but it’s not going to continue to grow, or it’s not going to be sustainable long term.”
And as Office 365 goes, so go cloud solutions generally, she continues. They’re so easy to sell that everyone is selling them, driving margins down for anyone who offers basic licensing and configuration services.
Paul Hager, CEO of ITProFound Inc., a solution provider based in Woodbury, Minn., and current president of the SMB Alliance advisory council, agrees. Opening an account in Ingram’s cloud marketplace is a good entry point to building a cloud computing practice, but won’t deliver serious profits on its own.
“That Ingram cloud portal is fantastic, but just about anybody can sign up for that fantastic Ingram cloud portal,” he says. “You’ve got to find a way to differentiate yourself.”
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Speaking at a gathering of the distributor’s most committed channel pros, global cloud chief Renee Bergeron (pictured) advised anyone looking for sustainable cloud profits to sell solutions rather than products and get serious about Infrastructure-as-a-Service.