INGRAM MICRO CLOUD SUMMIT — Build a data center knowing that you might one day shut it down? Align with a vendor that you may one day compete with? How about build a practice with the expectation that it will not last more than a few years?
These outcomes are all possible in the new world of cloud business models, where opportunities materialize and then recede in a blink, say solution providers who attended the Ingram Micro Cloud Partner Summit in Hollywood, Fla. In conversations and strategic breakout sessions, partners shared with Channel Partners their experiences and observations on how cloud computing is changing their businesses.
One partner, for example, said cloud computing has actually elongated his cycle.
“You hear all the time how ‘cloud’ is fast — fast to buy, fast to turn on and fast to leverage," said one cloud services reseller. “But since cloud solutions can touch so many departments simultaneously, getting buy-off and approval from all parties before closing a deal is lengthening my sales cycle."
Other solution providers told Cloud Partners that they are applying lessons learned to their burgeoning cloud operations. Several said they achieved greater momentum when they divided their sales forces and assigned responsibility for cloud sales to a dedicated team.
“When we had all of our salespeople carrying quota for the cloud, I thought we would get greater momentum," said one solutions provider. “But the team sold what they knew, which was traditional, on-prem products. When we created a team of cloud-only sales people, our cloud sales grew, but our sales management become more complicated. We’re still trying to figure out account management so we don’t overwhelm customers."
Cloud business models are turning out to be more fluid that previously predicted, others added. And more ephemeral.
“The cloud is too often thought of as a single, monolithic thing," said Craig Teahen, vice president of information technology with All Covered. “But it is really lots of different solutions to solving a lot of customers problems."
In a main-stage presentation to attendees, Teahen described his company’s evolution as a managed services provider and cloud company. Founded in 1997, it developed a managed service practice in 2006. It built its first network operations center (NOC) in 2007 and then launched its first cloud practice in 2012. Along the way, it acquired more than 20 different companies to round out its capabilities. Afterward, it found itself with 19 data centers scattered around the country. Management and oversight of these NOCs was expensive, so All Covered tried to develop some standards by rationalizing its portfolio of products and capabilities.