Ingram Micro is helping its vendors and channel partners transform to the cloud
Ingram Micro is an emergent leader in the global technology sector; dedicated to enabling its customers and its entire organization to achieve technological transformation. “Technology underpins our organization and the pressure is on to get it right. To achieve a competitive advantage, companies must align with the evolving landscape. Ingram Micro is well poised to meet the demands of this evolution,” says Greg Onoprijenko, Director of Cloud for the company’s Canada operations. “We’re continuously innovating to maintain relevancy for our customers and our entire organization.”
As the world’s largest technology distributor, the company provides a wide array of products to its customers including laptops, smartphones, printers and IT infrastructure and services to its wide variety of customers, reaching from retail to telecommunications to value-added resellers (VARs). In Canada, Onoprijenko heads the company's fastest-growing division: Cloud. “As customers transform their businesses and start to adopt more cloud services, their dependence on the IT channel for guidance has become increasingly critical to their success,” he says. “This increase in demand has resulted in revenue growth as we develop more solutions in the portfolio and add a larger staff to support the demand. We’re fortunate to be leading an extremely profitable and fast-growing business.”
The company’s Cloud operations are divided into three business units. The first is the Microsoft team, which primarily focuses on Office 365 and the associated licensing models. The second unit addresses Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), such as cloud security, backup and recovery, and communications and collaboration services. The third unit is the Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) team. “The IaaS team is completely focused on data centre transformation and public cloud infrastructure. The solutions we sell within that portfolio include Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and IBM Cloud,” explains Onoprijenko.
“One of the competitive advantages we have in the Cloud division is just the sheer breadth and depth of the team. We have over 1,500 dedicated cloud employees globally, with extensive industry experience. For our customers and channel partners who need guidance and advice, we have the industry’s best team to lean on,” comments Onoprijenko. As Ingram Micro transforms its business model, change management across the company has its challenges. To effectively combat these challenges, Ingram Micro’s Cloud team is continuously providing education to ensure that “the entire company is aligned with the cloud strategy.”
The company’s platform strategy is another clear differentiator that separates it from its competitors. Ingram Micro offers a fully automated platform that enables cloud services transactions with centralized dashboards, reporting and support. “The platform covers any need that a partner may have when delivering cloud services,” he continues. “As channel partners become mature and more successful in the cloud, they recognize that automation is critical to scale their businesses and that they need to have their eCommerce platform to transact cloud services. Our global cloud service offerings make us a logical option for these companies.”
As customers within the technology sector shift towards an as-a-service model, Ingram Micro is adapting its strategy. “Instead of customers buying and owning IT products, the evolution is towards everything-as-a-monthly-fee. That puts pressure on the IT channel partners to evolve and change to meet customer demands. It also puts pressure on IT distributors to change how they deliver solutions to the market. Finally, the onus is on the vendors, who are ultimately creating these products and services to evolve,” reveals Onoprijenko. To embrace the change in demand for both hardware and software products, Ingram Micro is increasingly introducing new service options, with Onoprijenko claiming they are leading the industry.
Onoprijenko cites traditional software licensing as an example, with customers purchasing the licenses and associated maintenance to own and manage. With the current evolution underway, firms are moving away from owning these licenses, instead opting for a pay-as-you-go alternative to access the software, which typically resides in the cloud. “It’s an evolution. A lot of the channel partners recognize this and are proactively transforming their companies. While some companies recognize the need to change, and that they need help with it, others are unresponsive to change and risk getting left behind.” With the experience of the Cloud team, Ingram Micro can offer its partners guidance and knowledge through seminars, educational opportunities and one-on-one coaching, differentiating the firm from its competitors. “We can surround our clients with resources which can guide them along and motivate them to change proactively,” he adds.
As well as enabling its customers to advance their operations, Ingram Micro is working towards the same goal of innovating its functions internally. “We’re changing our business model and evolving to the cloud. We previously had large data centres with IT infrastructure that serviced the entire company. As an example, we recently moved the entire company to Microsoft Office 365 instead of hosting the solutions ourselves. We also standardized the entire company on Microsoft Dynamics CRM, versus hosting our own.”
With cloud adoption increasing at such a rapid rate, one of the company’s biggest challenges is to compete with other businesses taking advantage of the advancement. “Everybody understands the opportunity and is pursuing it. Ingram Micro envisioned this opportunity before our competitors and started delivering cloud services about 12 years ago. We certainly invested early,” Onoprijenko says. Within such a competitive industry, the company has the advantage of its hardworking team with its breadth of knowledge, as well as its years of experience in the sector. As the firm continues to grow, the cloud will be a foundational part of its strategy.