Ingram Micro Takes Partners to the Cloud

Leading IT distributor Ingram Micro last week launched a cloud offensive aimed at bridging the partner community with various vendors' cloud offerings.

The initiative, called Ingram Micro Cloud, has three primary components: a partner portal to the distributor's cloud offerings and content, the new Cloud Services Network and the online Cloud Marketplace. Ingram Micro's goal is to accelerate partners' move from traditional IT sales and delivery to the cloud.

"We wanted to launch a platform that would help our partners understand the opportunity with the cloud and be ready to take advantage of that opportunity through training and education and sales and marketing enablement," said Jason Beal, Ingram's director of sales and services.

Beal said nearly three dozen providers have already thrown their hat into Ingram's new Cloud Marketplace, a searchable online cloud computing marketplace where partners can learn about different cloud computing companies, ranging from infrastructure providers to software applications, to virtual desktop type companies.

"It's the start of an online marketplace that continues to grow: We are continuing to get more and more inquiries from vendors who want to be a part of this marketplace," Beal explained. Among those that have joined the marketplace are Autotask, CA Technologies, GoGrid, IBM, Intermedia, Jive Communications, McAfee, Microsoft and Rackspace, Beal said. He stated his hit list is 250 companies.

Integrators and ISVs can use the marketplace to find a cloud vendor that they may want to partner with, Beal explained. The marketplace hosts white papers, marketing collateral, spec sheets and the ability for vendors to offer online tours of their cloud service offerings. The marketplace also allows them to set up engagements with Ingram as the intermediary.

"We fit smack dab in the middle," Beal said. "Ingram Micro has done a heck of a job in the last decade with reseller business transformation, whether it's through our customer communities like our SMB Alliance, and putting a lot of effort behind training them around things like financials, how to hire right and build sales compensation plans."

The Cloud Services Network meanwhile is an extension of the Ingram Micro Services Network, or IMSN, aimed at bringing together service providers best suited to providing consulting, assessments, design and deployment of cloud services, Beal said. "We have aggregated a subset of best of breed cloud computing consultants and cloud integration companies, and formed a sub network," he said.

Ingram is looking to show that distributors can play a meaningful role in helping partners and vendors alike, transition to the cloud. "We're looking at it as a business development opportunity to have access to a lot more business from other partners within the network who don't have specializations within the cloud that we have,"  said Tony Safoian, president and CEO of SADA Systems, a managed services provider that focuses on cloud implementations.

Eran Gil, co-founder and VP of business development at Cloud Sherpas, a Google partner, agreed. "It's an opportunity for more business for us," Gil said. "We're not as big as they are for sure, we don't have the relationships that they have with different organizations, and I think what will end up happening is we will see opportunities to partner with other vendors that service customers that we don't have relationships with."

About the Author

Jeffrey Schwartz is editor of Redmond magazine and also covers cloud computing for Virtualization Review's Cloud Report. In addition, he writes the Channeling the Cloud column for Redmond Channel Partner. Follow him on Twitter @JeffreySchwartz.