SMB Partners Say Ingram Micro's New Cloud Charge Is A Mixed Bag

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Ingram Micro SMB cloud partners said the distributor has hit a home run with a rollout of cloud services, partnerships and channel program additions. But many born-in-the-cloud Ingram Micro partners, attending the IT distributor's Cloud Summit 2014 in Hollywood, Fla., this week, are skeptics. They want details on pricing and are concerned a one-size-fits-all approach to buying, deploying and managing cloud services just won't work.  

For Steve Panovski, co-owner of Ubix Technology, a Macomb, Mich.-based Ingram Micro partner and self-identified small VAR, said Ingram Micro is a perfect match for his SMB needs. Panovski said not only does Ingram Micro give him leverage with cloud vendors, but it also gives him access to Ingram Micro's line card of a la carte cloud services and the ability to manage those services through one Ingram Micro relationship.

"Ingram allows me to off-load worrying about keeping my IT up-to-date. My customer relationships have moved from being the guy fixing stuff in the back room to business- level discussions with customers about what IT investments will maximize their ROI." Panovski said his company is relying more on Ingram Micro to help him scale and is looking to triple his cloud business this year with the distributor's new cloud offerings.

Related: Ingram Micro Cloud Leaders Answer Partner Cloud Questions

"Ingram Micro gives us the same leverage with cloud services as it does with hardware like servers and switches," Panovski said. "As a five-person shop, I can't get the Ciscos of the world to return my calls. But as an Ingram Micro partner I have channel clout, buying power and a trusted adviser to help me win more cloud business."

On Tuesday, Ingram Micro unveiled channel program updates, a partnership with Parallels, a revamp of its Cloud Marketplace, along with a new "white-glove" service for partners. Ingram Micro said it would leverage its recent SoftCom acquisition and will roll out its own hosted cloud services housed in its own data centers.

Shawn Walsh, CEO of Paradigm Computer Consulting, based in Nashua, N.H., said Ingram Micro cloud strategy is firing on all cylinders with a major overhaul to its Cloud Marketplace powered by Parallels’ Automation platform. Set to be introduced this quarter, the Cloud Marketplace allows partners to deploy private, public and hybrid cloud services that are part of Ingram Micro’s 70 vendors. The Parallels-powered marketplace gives partners post-sales tools, such as cloud support capabilities to deploy and manage cloud services and also meter and bill for them.

"My money goes to the vendor that can lower my stress levels the most," Walsh said. "Ingram Micro, for my money, looks like it’s going to keep me very happy. I’m impressed with the possibilities."

NEXT: Not All Partners Sold On Cloud Marketplace

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