Ingram Micro Inc. made a slough of announcements at its Cloud Summit this week, but one of the most interesting was its new partnerships with CenturyLink Inc. and Time Warner Cable.
Now, VARs can, for the first time, sell network services through the distributor. And the choice to offer both a telecommunications and a cable provider was deliberate, said Renee Bergeron, vice president of managed services and cloud computing for Ingram Micro, so partners may have the choice to use coax, for example, or fiber or copper. Further, CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable boast different areas of coverage, although they do overlap in some regions; nonetheless, putting both into the Ingram Micro portfolio gives partners the ability to choose the best carrier for the end user.
Notably, Bergeron alluded to the CenturyLink and Time Warner Cable deals as being just the first such arrangements for Ingram Micro. She did not say when other partnerships will be unveiled, or which companies will be involved.
On the whole, Ingram Micro's decision to add network services for VARs came as the cloud pushes the telecom and IT channels together.
"It's a matter of survival" for VARs to include connectivity with cloud, Bergeron said. She said VARs are finding themselves in competition with telecom agents for business. Being able to provision both IT and network services through Ingram Micro cuts complexity for partners, executives said.
Above all, getting access to network services will help resellers jumpstart, or build on, a recurring revenue model, Bergeron said. For IT partners, moving away from reliance on up-front compensation has proven a challenge as cloud, which pays on a recurring basis, has overtaken the industry. In essence, resellers are being forced to transition to accommodate recurring revenue but the change is taking time. One partner said his company has been adding recurring compensation to its practice for the past year, but remains 95 percent reliant on up-front payments.