CSPs, Mergers and Acquisitions, IT distribution, Mergers and Acquisitions

Ingram Micro Cloud Surprises: Ensim Meets Odin?

Renee Bergeron
Renee Bergeron

As Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2016 approaches next week, the distribution giant has acquired Ensim -- which some folks are calling a cloud distributor. Actually, that's only one piece of a larger story. Take a closer look at Ensim's cloud platform, and you'll see potential synergies with Odin -- a cloud automation system that Ingram acquired from Parallels in 2015.

Ensim's "end-to-end" cloud platform offers modules that allow channel partners and service providers to set up marketplaces, storefronts, subscription management, service catalogs, ticketing, provisioning automation, usage collection, rating, recurring billing, invoicing, and payments, the company says.

Ensim's exact installed base is difficult to pin down, though the company says "hundreds" of services providers and enterprises use the platform. The Ensim Automation Suite can be deployed on-premises or in the cloud, which means service providers can set up online malls or enterprises can set up on-premises stores for their employees.

In theory, that means VARs and MSPs could leverage Ensim to set up their own online storefronts, or perhaps those partners could also resell the system into customer environments for enterprises to use on their own.

Ingram: Mostly Silent About Ensim

Still, I don't know Ingram's exact plans for the platform. The company is declining comment at this point, but I suspect more details could potentially emerge at Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Phoenix next week. In particular, keep an eye on VP Renee Bergeron's keynote...

Jason Bystrak

Meanwhile, in a recent interview with ChannelE2E, Ingram Micro Cloud Executive Director Jason Bystrak described how partners have to maintain a hybrid cloud balancing act. The interview occurred before Ingram's buyout of Ensim, but it's easy to imagine how Ensim could plug into the distributor's hybrid cloud strategy. Update: April 6, 11:54 a.m. ET: Ingram's Jason Bystrak shares more details on Ensim's upside.

I suspect Ingram will also marry Ensim with Odin, the cloud automation acquired from Parallels in December 2015. At the time of that announcement, Ingram said Odin:

"...provides a single, centralized management console for managing the offer and delivery of cloud services, and supports multiple tiers of service resellers with customizable white-labeled customer-facing websites to initiate ordering and provisioning. Odin Service Automation delivers an out-of-the-box, customizable storefront that can be linked to an existing website. It includes customer self-enrollment with built-in fraud screening, and can be configured to support custom purchase workflows. Sales-representative-assisted customer enrollment is also supported via the service provider control panel.”

Cloud automation. Customized storefronts. Odin and Ensim certainly sound related. But we won't know for sure until Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2016 next week in Phoenix or later this month when Ingram actually completes the Ensim buyout.

Ingram: Acquired and Acquiring

Meanwhile, Ingram continues to be a buyer even as the distributor itself gets acquired by a Chinese logistics giant for $6 billion.

In recent weeks, Ingram Executive VP Paul Bay has insisted that it's business as usual at the distribution giant. Snapping up Ensim and NETXUSA a few weeks ago suggests that it's more than business as usual at Ingram. Instead, it's business accelerated.

Think of it this way: Tianjin Tianhai expects to complete the Ingram Micro buyout in the second half of 2016. In the meantime, it's clear that the pending parent has likely told its child-to-be to remain aggressive in the M&A market -- acquiring intellectual property and software along the way.

Ingram's interest in the cloud software market isn't new. Sources say the company had considered buying Parallel's cloud automation platform a decade ago. But the Odin buyout only emerged after Ingram's cloud team proved that the distribution giant could get a critical mass of customers onto a cloud marketplace system. That tipping point arrived somewhere between 2014 and early 2015, which intensified Ingram's interest in Odin. Fast forward to the present and Odin has a new cloud sibling called Ensim.

Will they play together nicely under Ingram's ownership? I suspect the answer is 'yes.'

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.