More than 1,000 MSPs and channel partners have arrived at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2017 in Phoenix. The conference is an important bellwether for the shift to managed cloud services across the IT channel. So what should attendees expect this year from SVP Renee Bergeron and the Ingram team? Here are 10 trends, market shifts and milestones to track.
1. Cloud Revenues: Ingram's cloud revenues were about $200 million and roughly doubling annually at the end of 2015. Fast forward about 16 months and I wonder if that growth rate is still in place. If so, Ingram's cloud likely pushed beyond $400 million at the end of 2016.
2. Cloud Metrics: Senior VP Renee Bergeron typically shares adoption metrics from the main stage. As of November 2016, Ingram had more than 10 million cloud seats under management, Bergeron said at the time.
3. Beyond Office 365: No doubt, Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace is one of the largest channel hubs for selling and managing Office 365. But Ingram has been marching toward IaaS. Whether it happens onstage or in the back halls, listen closely for Ingram's Azure management and monetization strategy for partners.
4. Odin: Both Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace and third-party service providers run Odin, an underlying cloud software platform. Poke around at recent announcements made in Europe and you'll see where Odin is heading next.
5. Return of Cisco: Admittedly, Cisco Systems never abandoned distributors. But I felt as if Cisco in recent years had deemphasized distributors to focus mainly on enterprise partner engagements. Whether my thesis was right or wrong here's a fact: Cisco is making key moves with Ingram Cloud that impressed me.
6. Return of Symantec: Likewise, Symantec never abandoned distributors. But the company's history in the channel -- particularly with MSPs -- has been mixed at best in recent years. After selling off Veritas and acquiring Blue Coat, Symantec is making a fresh start with partners. And that includes an expanded relationship with Ingram.
7. Cloud & MSP Training: The distributor will debut cloud and managed service blueprints at Cloud Summit. In fact, they'll be free to partners.
9. Rivalries: You likely know about established rivals like Synnex CloudSolv, Tech Data StreamOne (and the acquired Avnet Cloud Marketplace), Westcon Comstor BlueSky and more. But what about emerging players like Pax8? We're watching to see which rivals are on Ingram's radar.
10. M&A: Yes, plenty of VARs and MSPs discuss potential M&A combinations in the back halls of Ingram Micro Cloud Summit. If any deals emerge you'll find details here.
That's it for now. But we might be back with additional info from Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2017 in the hours and days ahead...