If you’ve been following the Cloud Summit Twittersphere (#IMcloud2014), you’ll see that today’s even was packed with business-focused keynote presentations and excellent break-out sessions. Here are a few highlights I thought were most relevant for VARs and MSPs:
Renee Bergeron, Ingram VP of WW Cloud kicked things off this morning with several exciting announcements, including:
- Ingram Micro Hosted Exchange
- Ingram Micro Virtual Private Servers (VPS)
- Ingram Micro Web Hosting
A growing portfolio of “white glove” services focused on critical business, sales and technical needs such as:
- technical sales engineering
- migration and onboarding
- service desk, and
- remote infrastructure management.
Expanded Channel Programs. Now there are three options for service providers:
- Cloud Referral
- Cloud Resale
- Cloud Private Label
And, a Next-Gen Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace, powered by Parallels
The opening session was followed by a Cloud Leadership Panel moderated by Gartner’s VP of Research, Tiffani Bova and the panel included Ingram CEO Alain Monié, Box CEO Aaron Levie, RingCentral President David Berman, Axcient CEO Justin Moore, and Parallels CEO Birger Steen.
One thing I learned was that CEOs who wear outlandish socks are the ones most likely to make unfiltered statements that make crowds of IT service providers go “ooooooooooooo” and there were even a few “booooooo”s as well.
Axcient’s Moore made the strongest prediction for what’s in store for partners in the next few years: “We’re going to see a consolidation in the number of channel companies over next 3 years. Those who don’t innovate won’t exist.”
Ingram partner Chris Bradley, VP of Managed/Cloud Solutions at ProTech Systems Group spoke next about his company’s cloud services growth. One of the key takeaways from his presentation: “We’re talking to CEOs, CFOs, and business owners – where the real cloud buying decisions happen.”
Ellen Berlan, who I interviewed last week, had these two highlights to share in her keynote presentation:
What are the top business drivers for cloud adoption? Agility, Faster Time to Market, Scaling Up and Scaling Down, Ease of Deployment, Replacing CapEx with OpEx
Cisco Survey Results: Among companies with less than 1,000 employees, the app they are most likely to move to the cloud is: video conferencing (42% of respondents)
Gartner predicts: By 2016, more than 50% of video communications will come from cloud/SaaS.
Another show favorite was Terry Jones, Founder of Kayak.com and Founder of Travelocity.com who spoke on the “Business of Innovation,” which fit perfectly with this year’s “Rise Above” theme. Jones’ session was packed with inspiring quotes, stories, and anecdotes, but here were a few of my favorites:
- Watch out for the Dopelar Effect – the tendency for stupid ideas to seem interesting the faster they come at you.
- Creativity is about thinking up new ideas. Innovation is about doing new things.
- Build a culture of experimentation and when things don’t go well, kill the project — not the person with the idea behind the project.
- Beware of the Bozone Layer – An impenetrable layer of middle management that stops bright ideas from moving forward.
- Innovation is not like the olympics where you train for 5+ years and have one shot at a medal; it’s more like baseball where if you’re successful 70% of the time, you’re doing pretty good.
- In real innovation, being comfortable isn’t good.
There were several excellent breakout sessions after lunch, too. One of the more popular ones was the session led by Paul Dippell, CEO of Service Leadership, Inc. a leading global consultancy to Solution Providers and IT vendors. “Resellers have three choices when it comes to selling cloud services: They can build their own (bring your own cloud), they can resell another vendor’s cloud, or they can white-label another vendor’s cloud service,” says Dipell. He then made the point, backed by a lot of metrics and experience, why resellers should avoid BYOC and instead focus their efforts on white-labeled cloud services where they can minimize price shopping and bundle their managed services to optimize their profit margins.
There was one breakout session on marketing I attended (led by MSP Platte River’s David DeCamillis and Ingram Micro’s VP of Marketing Jennifer Anaya) that I thought deserved its own blog, which you’ll see later this week.
Can’t wait to see what’s in store for attendees tomorrow. Should be another really great day!