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How Distribution Is Reinventing Itself in a Cloud World

Cloud computing has recharged the role of distributors in the channel. Before cloud gained traction, distributors focused mostly on assisting partners—systems integrators, VARs, MSPs and so forth—with the resale of hardware, software and related services. But as .. Continue

How Distribution Is Reinventing Itself in a Cloud World

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Company & Partnership News

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Written by
Tim FitzGerald

Cloud computing has recharged the role of distributors in the channel.

Before cloud gained traction, distributors focused mostly on assisting partners—systems integrators, VARs, MSPs and so forth—with the resale of hardware, software and related services. But as more organizations turned to cloud to cut costs and improve agility, distributors are re-engaging with the way they deliver those products and services.

Building a stronger value proposition

According to reports from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), vendors have taken notice of distributors’ investments in cloud. In a survey of more than 50 vendors, cloud was cited as the number one area of progress for distribution. As a result, technology vendors are relying on distributors to push their cloud solutions to market via channel players. This means focusing heavily on distributors’ ability to recruit, enable and finance partners.

With so many cloud-based solutions competing in today’s $528 billion cloud services market, it’s increasingly difficult for cloud solution providers to maneuver the landscape effectively.

Without the help of distributors, solution providers waste valuable time and resources evaluating vendors, negotiating contracts, and handling procurement and payment transactions. When focusing on those tasks, they have little time left to explore new opportunities, generate new revenue streams and market their solutions.

To aid solution providers in delivering the right cloud services and support to their customers, distributors have developed their own cloud marketplaces (i.e., e-commerce platforms) to provide channel partners with opportunities to satisfy customer needs and diversify their revenue sources. By using a cloud marketplace, partners have a centralized location to purchase, sell and provision cloud services, and to manage back-office processes such as billing and invoicing.

Today’s channel distributors are masters of aggregation, piecing together multi-vendor cloud solutions (so partners don’t have to) and positioning themselves as the agents of digital transformation. Through distributors, solution providers in the cloud gain efficiency, effectiveness and scalability.

A triple threat: Ingram Micro in the cloud

For our part, Ingram Micro Cloud has invested significant resources, consisting of three initiatives:

Cloud Referral: This turnkey, commission-based program offers partners fast, easy entry into the cloud market. By referring end users to Ingram Micro Cloud’s online referral marketplace to make purchases, partners earn commission on top products in the cloud space. This allows partners to scale their businesses and increase profitability with zero investment.

Ingram Micro’s user-friendly portal allows solution providers to manage and track commissions, navigate customer orders and customize their own websites, while Ingram Micro Cloud handles all billing, invoicing and payment.

Cloud Marketplace: An e-commerce platform and ecosystem of category-leading digital services, Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace allows partners to choose from a vast, up-to-date catalog of cloud offerings.

Solution providers can employ terms and service prices already negotiated by Ingram Micro Cloud—leveraging the distributor’s partnerships for go-to-market tools, strategies and customer support. Our consolidated billing and invoicing streamlines back-office operations, while partners gain access to new markets and end-user communities.

CloudBlue: This end-to-end cloud software and services platform helps service providers—including MSPs, telecoms, large VARs and other distributors—build, scale and monetize cloud and digital services.

Operating separately from Ingram Micro Cloud, CloudBlue is dedicated exclusively to selling the CloudBlue platform and services directly to service providers. Powering more than 200 of the world’s largest cloud marketplaces, CloudBlue offers subscription management, provisioning, billing and invoicing, business intelligence, identity and access management, and more.

Find out how your cloud business compares

Take advantage of the 2112 Cloud Altimeter—a cloud assessment tool exclusively for Ingram Micro partners. By answering a few questions about your company and its cloud practice, this tool will generate a comprehensive report on how your company stacks up to others in the same class. To use the tool, visit 2112 Group Cloud Altimeter.