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Ingram Micro: 5 Cloud Trends You Can't Afford To Miss

March 23, 2017 - Article

Jason Bystrak**Editor's Note: Distributor Report is a recurring column featuring thought leadership from IT and cloud distributors. We're looking for insights into evolving business models in this new era of distribution, product and technical service offerings, education and training, marketing/branding, credit and a myriad of other services.**

By Jason Bystrak

For years now we’ve been talking about how disruptive cloud computing is to IT, and how IT solution providers need to rethink the ways they deliver value to their customers in order to stay relevant. Over the last few years, we’ve seen a massive shift in office productivity suites moving to the cloud, and that trend will continue — especially as on-premises servers reach end of life/end of support. But that’s not the only cloud trend IT solution providers need to keep their eyes on in 2017. There are actually five mega trends within cloud computing that IT solution providers should be paying close attention to:

  1. Hybrid cloud growth will lead to a need for consolidated clouds. According to analyst firm RightScale’s 2017 State of the Cloud Report, adoption of private cloud has dropped to 72 percent, down from 77 percent last year. As a result, use of hybrid-cloud environments has fallen to 67 percent from 71 percent last year. In total, 95 percent of survey participants are using cloud, with only 9 percent of enterprises focusing on building a private cloud, down significantly from 23 percent in 2016. Over time, hybrid cloud computing will likely lead to a unified model comprised of a single "cloud" made up of multiple internal and external cloud platforms and used on an as-needed basis to meet changing business requirements.
  2. Collaboration is a cloud phenomenon. It seems that everyone is moving their email solutions to the cloud, and B2B collaboration opportunities are driving wider deployment with complementary solutions such as file sharing, voice and contact manager, and social media platforms. Additionally, we are seeing instances of social media replacing email as a collaboration tool in the workplace, further blurring the lines between work data and personal data. While small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) are now “all-in" when it comes to moving their productivity suites (e.g. email) to the cloud, brace for the next wave of midmarket adopters who will leverage cloud computing for their collaboration needs, like file sharing and unified communications. Cloud platforms such as Yammer, Chatter and Dropbox are already being integrated into traditional email and personal social media platforms to better facilitate internal and external collaboration. End users need channel partners’ expertise to integrate and customize bundles that meet their business needs. 
  3. Growing demand for managed services. Over the years, we’ve seen a shift in managed services from a cost optimization benefit for on-premises technology to a critical solution component in a cloud world. Most end users do not have the tools, processes, relationships and internal resources to support multiple cloud platforms without incurring astronomical costs. This means there will be a continued and growing demand for channel partners with managed and professional-services capabilities around implementation, customization and post-sale support for a multi-vendor cloud environment. Larger cloud-centric channel players are turning to mergers and acquisitions to gain the talent and skill sets of managed service providers as they race to take advantage of the cloud market opportunity — it is a game of scale.
  4. The decision-making loop is expanding. The cloud conversation is maturing and has become more about how businesses use applications and less about the underlying infrastructure of the IT environment. This means that the decision-making loop is expanding outside the IT department to include line-of-business leaders focused on process improvement and business optimization. Channel partners with vertical-market or horizontal-functional expertise will be best positioned to engage these new decision makers and capture cloud opportunities.
  5. Cloud is moving upmarket. The past few years have seen explosive growth for cloud solutions, primarily in the SMB market. However, technology advances in security and cloud workload management, automation in operational platforms, expansion from development environments to full deployment, and implementation of long-term financial and technology plans will drive cloud upmarket to the enterprise this year.

Jason Bystrak, executive director, Ingram Micro Cloud, is responsible for leading and developing the sales and market development organizations for Ingram Micro’s Americas cloud business. He spearheads a team of technology and business professionals focused on designing and executing go-to-market plans for channel partners by providing sales and marketing support, technical and operational resources, and supplementing service delivery capabilities to capture market opportunities and exceed customer expectations.

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