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Insight Enterprises’ Lamneck: AI, Cloud Have ‘Leveled The Whole Playing Field’

'All these small to medium companies have the ability to become really large-scale with their capabilities with things like the cloud,’ says Insight Enterprises President and CEO Ken Lamneck.

Insight Enterprises President and CEO Ken Lamneck said the widespread adoption of cloud and artificial intelligence has enabled small to midsize solution providers to go toe to toe with their larger competition in the battle for customers.

“All these small to medium companies have the ability to become really large-scale with their capabilities with things like the cloud and it's ... basically leveled the whole playing field with what they can do,” he said.

Lamneck told the audience at The Channel Company’s Best of Breed conference that airlines were among the early adopters of AI, using it to more efficiently move passengers and planes. Yet as the cost of that technology has come down and it has become more ubiquitous, it has created a massive opportunity for smaller solution providers to create lasting relationships with their customers.

“IT is still hard,” Lamneck said. “It's still really complex. This stuff isn’t getting easier. So they need people that can do it at scale, and that's where I think there's such an opportunity for all of us with managed services because they're going to need us to be able to do all those functions for them, and what a great business. If you do well, you're going to be so entangled with the client and you'll have clients for 10, 20 years.”

Jason Wright, managing director with AllCovered in Missouri City, Texas, said this message of “solution-based selling” hits home with him.

“Move away from features and benefits,” he said. “Try not to sell on discount and price. That’s how you do it. It’s through AI, augmented reality, it’s through IoT, it’s through all these next-gen technologies that you are now selling to line-of-business leaders. … I don’t look at IoT as much about computing from the edge as I do coming up with specific applications, specific solutions that collect data that you can present back to your customer.”

The adoption of IoT by industries not traditionally associated with technology such as forestry and agriculture is another reason Lamneck was bullish on the immediate future of managed services.

“It’s literally 25 cents per device, per month,” he said. “But when you’re selling that company 50,000 and you’re managing 50,000 devices a month … that’s a pretty good business. That’s why I think the whole managed services opportunity is so great.”

Wright agreed, adding that near him,there is big technology business to be done in converting the sensors that monitor oil wells from the old Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems to digital solutions.

“For years those big industrial businesses have operated off a SCADA system, analog technology,” he said. “So the key is trying to convert that to digital technology and still make it safe. So the adoption has been a little slower, but it is coming. It’s picking up momentum … It’s just convincing a CISO, a CIO, a CTO that they can implement these newer technologies and not bring vulnerabilities into the environment.”

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