As the Ingram Micro ONE Fall 2017 conference wrapped up yesterday, CEO Alain Monié stepped up to the stage for a Q&A session led by Executive VP Paul Bay. He touched on the past, present and future of Ingram Micro -- along with the company's partner-centric strategic bets.
Reflecting on the decision to invest so heavily in the cloud five or six years ago, Monié says he didn’t believe it was risky at the time. The only risk, according to Monié, was in determining what Ingram’s role in that transition would be.
“We’re just getting to the point where we see the dollar sign in blue, not in red,” said Monié.
“I’m convinced it’s not only going to work for us, but it’s going to big.”
Distribution rivals have gotten serious about the cloud in recent years, but Ingram's decision to acquire underlying cloud platform technology has served the company well. With more than 2 million cloud seats deployed, the company is rapidly marching toward 3 million seats, Bay said earlier in the week.
Much of the Ingram ONE crowd was US-based. But Ingram continues to look at the IT industry on a global scale. “Clearly our industry really isn’t a local industry,” Monié said, pointing to the major buckets of technology.
He sees buckets like computing power and storage gaining power and transforming into utilities. Also on the way is 5G networking. All of that powerful infrastructure will be accessed through our various connected devices.
Monié used these examples to encourage partners to concentrate on vertical markets. “The horizontal pieces are becoming very strong,” he said. “But what you need to do is bring it together. And that’s vertical applications.”
Bay then asked Monié that, if he were an Ingram partner, where would he invest. Security was the top of the list for the chief executive, who called it a critical element wrapping all the other elements to make them functional.
“All these devices are connected, all this data flowing all the time through different means, means you have to have a security environment that is now more and more difficult to get effective,” he said.
He further encouraged partners to focus on that vertical knowledge because, as he says, customers aren’t interested in how things happen, only in the outcome.
Finally, he spoke about partners’ business models. “As a Service” presents some of the greatest opportunities for partners, according to the chief executive. To wit, Monié says the company is putting together financial structures to facilitate the convergence of all these elements.
A question from the audience closed out the session, with an Ingram partner asking Monié where the company would be investing in the coming year.
“You don’t decide today what you’re going to do in '18,” the CEO responded, saying that the important thing is to be flexible enough to adapt when it’s called for.
Monié was able to lay out two future plans. Cloud, he said, will remain a priority for the company. He also mentioned plans to develop an e-commerce platform to help facilitate deals between solutions providers and partners. The exact details of this platform weren’t forthcoming during the session.