Ingram Micro Rolls Out Partner-Branded Cloud Store, Referral Program

Ingram Micro is pursuing new types of cloud customers with a partner-branded store, commission-based referral program and single-platform automation offering for cloud and self-hosted services.

The Irvine, Calif.-based distributor is focused on developing different cloud platforms capable of serving both longtime cloud-savvy VARs and MSPs as well as emerging cloud players in the telco, hosting and ISV spaces, according to Renee Bergeron, Ingram Micro’s vice president of global cloud.

"Most of our competitors offer only one flavor," Bergeron told CRN. "We don’t feel that one size fits all."

[Related: Ingram Micro To Buy 500-Person Cloud Management Vendor]

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One of the three new platforms unveiled Tuesday at the 2016 Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Phoenix brings white-labeling into the equation, allowing end users to shop on the distributor's Cloud Marketplace without ever leaving the channel partner's website.

Bergeron said the Cloud Store will also make it possible for solution providers to bundle their own professional services with Ingram Micro's offerings while still providing end users with a fully automated storefront experience.

"If you're just reselling an individual service, it's going to become a commodity, and it's going to become a price discussion,’ Bergeron said.

A beta version of the Cloud Store was launched in the second half of 2015, Bergeron said, and will be generally available to customers this week.

For Microsoft Tier I CSP partners, Ingram Micro is introducing the Odin Automation (OA) Essentials, which will enable partners to sell both distributor-sourced and vendor-sourced cloud offerings off a single platform. Bergeron said Odin Automation (OA) Essentials is a piece of on-premise software that can be configured in less than five hours and runs on a single solution provider server.

By enabling partners to leverage both their own direct relationships with vendors and Ingram Micro's extensive cloud catalog, the distributor expects to improve its stickiness and streamline cloud operations for top-tier Microsoft partners. The offerings leverages the capabilities of the service automation platform from Odin, which was acquired by Ingram Micro in December.

And for channel partners that want to monetize cloud opportunities within their existing customer base while not taking their eye off their core business, Ingram Micro has launched a cloud referral program.

Bergeron said the offering will enable partners to take advantage of cloud opportunities without having to build out a cloud platform, presales engineering and migration capabilities, and around-the-clock cloud support.

Under the cloud referral program, resellers can market and sell cloud services through customized banners and links on their own websites. But Ingram Micro will leverage its 1,500 cloud-dedicated employees to close the deal, migrate the end user to cloud and invoice the end user on a regular basis.

Bergeron said channel partners will receive commissions that are competitive from a total cost of ownership perspective. Solution providers are eligible to receive either an upfront lump sum payment from Ingram Micro or a monthly residual fee payment, Bergeron said.

Phoenix NAP is pleased to see Ingram Micro placing big bets around cloud services given the increased willingness of C-suite executives to leave on-premise hardware behind and the desire of enterprise executives to stretch their IT dollar even further, company President Ian McClarty told CRN.

"I think it's cool," McClarty said. "I think it's good they partnered with [Odin]."

McClarty said he thinks the Microsoft-centric OA Essentials offering will be beneficial for VARs and MSPs getting introduced to the cloud. But Phoenix NAP, an Ingram Micro partner, would benefit more from a true enterprise cloud services offering focused on right-sizing scope management and customizing and managing SLAs (service-level agreements) to ensure the end client is served properly.

"[The OA Essentials] is easy to launch," said McClarty, noting it should boost Ingram Micro's appeal to hosts and SMB-focused partners. "I get why theyre doing it."