Ingram Micro (IM) on Tuesday kicked off its Cloud Summit at the Westin Diplomat in Hollywood, Fla. with a general session aimed at describing how the technology distributor plans to continue its expansion into a worldwide cloud services provider.

Comedian Greg Schwem emceed the session, offering his own comical insights on business, technology and the concept of cloud -- but there's nothing funny about what Ingram Micro has planned for its channel partners in Q2.

News summary: Ingram Micro Cloud Computing Vice President Renee Bergeron took center stage to announce additions of cloud-based vendors and solutions to the Ingram Micro Cloud portfolio; showcase new Ingram Micro-hosted cloud solutions and "white glove" services, promote an expansion to its channel programs, and reveal the next-gen Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.

Here's a quick recap of what channel partners may have missed at this morning's general session:

Ingram Micro Cloud Computing VP Renee Bergeron (on what's new from Ingram Micro)

  • Cloud costs can be overwhelming to channel partners -- These costs are the direct result of a variety of factors, including research; due diligence and proposal; and ordering and provisioning, Bergeron said. She pointed out that these costs add up to more than $86,000.
  • She said channel partners need to be able to access the entire cloud solution stack: business applications; communications and collaboration; security; and infrastructure and cloud management services.
  • Ingram Micro has added SurePayroll, Charter, Logix, Skykick, 365 Main and Softlayer (which expands its relationship with IBM) to its cloud solution portfolio.
  • Ingram Micro's cloud portfolio can assist channel partners with solving every kind of customer problem, Bergeron said.
  • The value stack is about building vertical solutions for customers, Bergeron noted. These verticals include dental, legal, retail and education.
  • She said channel partners leveraging a cost-plus model in the cloud are leaving money on the table, noting that a value-based model can be more profitable.
  • The Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace will powered by the Parallels platform some in Q2 2014.
  • Bergeron said the distributor's marketplace enables channel partners to access a single source for ordering and provisioning, instead of having to go through a variety partner portals.
  • "Cloud computing is the gift that keeps on giving," she said.
  • On average, Ingram Micro has seen 4.5 percent customer attrition over the past three years, Bergeron noted.
  • Ingram Micro announced three white glove services for its resellers: technical sales engineering; migration and on-boarding; and service desk.
  • The Ingram Micro Service Desk was designed specifically to assist reseller partners by providing them with another layer of support for customers, Bergeron said.
  • Ingram Micro has seen four different cloud strategies for resellers: opportunistic, migrate to hybrid, hybrid, and born in the cloud, she said.
  • To fit these strategies, Ingram Micro is launching its new Cloud Channel program, consisting of the Cloud Referral program, Cloud Resale program and Cloud Private Label program.
  • She concluded that channel partners can be successful in the cloud by leveraging the right cloud services from the right CSP (breadth and trust); simplfying the right rools (simplify and scale); extending the right skill set and services (customer satisfaction); and empowering the right business model (grow and maximize).

Parallels CEO Birger Steen (on the Parallels and Ingram Micro relationship)

  • The cloud services industry needs channel partners: It's nearly impossible for a few corporations to effectively deliver cloud to millions of businesses, he said.
  • On the relationship: "We think this is the coming together of two world leaders," he said.

ProTech Systems Group Managed/Cloud Solutions Vice President Chris Bradley (thoughts on business and selling cloud services)

  • Bradley said his company changed the way it did things by refining offerings, maximizing margins, developing more marketing campaigns and taking a more consultative approach.
  • Focus on discussing cloud services with C-level executives, not owners, Bradley said.

Cisco Worldwide Cloud Sales Operations Director Ellen Berlan (on Cisco and collaboration)

  • Berlan said there are five main cloud business drivers: agility; faster time to market; scaling up and scaling down; ease of deployment; and capex/opex.
  • She said if you have any doubt about cloud, take a look at what the analysts are saying (e.g., Frost and Sullivan, Forrester, and Gartner).
  • Cisco's collaboration strategy focuses on being experience centric, cloud connected and value extended.
  • The business value of collboration revolves around productivity, innovation and growth, Berland said.
  • There are three categories in Cisco's cloud channel program: cloud builder model, cloud provider model and cloud reseller model. founder, chairman Terry Jones (on business and relationships)

  • On the ownership of information in today's world: "Information has escaped," he said. "It's found its freedom."
  • There are a lot of businesses being short-circuited by newer business, but others are being rewired to understand what's going on in today's world, he said.
  • What's changing in today's market?: "It's business models that are changing," he said.
  • The speed of innovation is moving a lot faster today than it did the past, Jones noted.
  • Relationships and the way businesses deal with customers are changing, he said. "We have to make friends with change," he said.
  • Instead of facing their fears, "established organizations view disruption as a threat," Jones explained.
  • On failure: "If you don't fail, you're not experimenting enough," he said.
  • Jones said channel partners may have to change some people in their organizations as they move toward cloud.
  • In order for a business to change and adapt, it needs to be able to consider different perspectives, he said.
  • He said one person can change the entire model of a company for the better.

Keep checking back with Talkin' Cloud for further updates from the 2014 Ingram Micro Cloud Summit.

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