Insight Enterprises has launched the InsightCloud Solution Center, its first cloud-based offering that will include messaging, security, infrastructure, collaboration solutions and management capabilities for messaging workloads, according to the company.
InsightCloud is designed to give commercial and public-sector clients a place to learn, shop and manage their cloud solutions, said Ken Lamneck, CEO of the company.
"Our view is we believe that the vast majority of spend for the clients is going to be in the private cloud and we are very committed to that offering," Lamneck said. "It's not different from what we've built in our data center and virtualization practices. We are looking to provide best-in-class solutions. It's not an app store, it's about workloads."
The Solution Center provides educational material for customers on the value of cloud computing and offers live chat capabilities with Insight's new cloud solution specialists available to answer any questions.
Customers can also shop through an online catalog of cloud solutions and order through an online shopping cart, according to Insight.
Finally, clients can manage and provision their own cloud solutions from one place, with additional access to Insight's InsightCloud Client Care support and other cloud professional services, Lamneck said.
The initial offering is around messaging, using Microsoft Dynamix CRM Online, because that is the most pervasive need in businesses, Lamneck said.
Rather than build out its own hosting center, Insight plans to leverage developers' own capabilities, in part, because some cloud solutions, such as from Success Factors or Concur, already reside in those vendors' data centers and it doesn't make sense to host something that's already hosted, Lamneck said.
"It's quickly become a scale game and people do that much better than we do. We develop the connector for technology where we work with the software partners to develop through an API, set something that connects us to them and seamlessly connects customers to our cloud Solution Center," Lamneck said.
Insight spent about a year-and-a-half developing its cloud strategy, Lamneck added. The company had to restructure its sales force and business systems for recognizing SaaS revenue on a utility-billing model, Lamneck said
"In order to scale, that's why we spent a significant amount of time on the IT. It all has to be scalable and automated, and there are cost-recognition issues on our side of the business," he said. "We don't take the full contract value [in reporting its financials as a public company]."
As Insight builds its cloud offerings, the company expects significant services offerings to form around the solutions, too, such as identity management and security, Lamneck said.
"What people haven't really addressed is that all these new apps that are coming, they're born in the cloud. How do you go to a Salesforce.com and say you want to host their app? As you fast-forward, that's the way things are going," Lamneck said. "The key in our mind is clients aren't buying apps, they're buying workloads."