Ingram Micro Cloud, a world-leading cloud solutions provider, has released its second annual report on the state of the channel, which delves into three of the most important trends that are reshaping the channel landscape and the implications of what is to come next.
The 2021 State of the Channel Report focuses on the remote work revolution, the evolving role of the modern managed service provider (MSP), and the pivot of the “big three” cloud infrastructure providers— Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), and Google Cloud—toward the channel.
“When you look at technology consumption from any dimension, cloud, data center, application, cybersecurity perspective or customer viewpoint, one thing is certain: We’re seeing an unprecedented retirement of technical debt at a speed the world has never experienced,” Nimesh Davé, president of Ingram Micro Cloud, says in the report.
He added the new set of responsibilities presented to channel partners in this new paradigm is central to the report’s purpose and that great opportunities await those who are aware and ready.
New opportunities have indeed arisen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which is reflected in the fact that the global cloud computing market is forecast to reach $250.04 billion by the end of the year and is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 17.9% to hit $791.48 billion by 2028.
Need to power remote work experience
Among its findings, Ingram Micro Cloud recommends that resellers and MSPs strive to power and protect the work-from-home experience.
“End customers will require strategies and technologies that keep their employees happy and productive, while also safeguarding a security perimeter redefined by remote work,” the report reads.
It added that powering the remote work experience first means proactively guiding organizations’ adoption of multi-cloud and hybrid cloud strategies, including infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), and remote communications and collaboration software as a service (SaaS).
The report encourages partners to invest in educating team members in IaaS, SaaS and PaaS while preparing themselves to better guide their customers toward cloud success in order to successfully expand their ecosystems to encompass cloud-based solutioning for end customers.
Need to evolve beyond the role of ‘IT guy’
Another key area of focus in the report is the ever-changing role of MSPs and the need for them to step up their game.
“In today’s rapidly changing channel, the MSPs that make the cut will have to become channel-first experience builders, specialized strategic partners, and ecosystem drivers. Rather than merely providing adequate IT services upon request and putting out fires when they arise, the MSPs most apt to survive will take on a far more active role in their customers’ success,” Ingram Micro Cloud says.
“This will start with the customer experience as the sales army transforms into the customer success army. In tomorrow’s channel, conversations with customers will have transitioned from a purely technology-focused dialogue to one focused on building an overall business experience.”
The company also maintains that the most successful MSPs will be those who can leverage the power of a well-connected ecosystem, saying that today’s providers must build strong partnerships with independent software vendors (ISVs), tech distributors, telcos, and other MSPs to make sure they are able to deliver holistic solutions.
Need to prepare for increasingly channel-centric big cloud providers
Another theme affecting the channel today, according to Ingram Micro Cloud, is the increasing focus on the channel from Microsoft, Amazon, and Google.
“Rather than attempting to build an aggressive, end-to-end sales pipeline, the big three cloud providers are instead upping investments in channel partner ecosystems and partner programs,” the report says.
The capital invested by these cloud giants in channel-supported growth strategies indicates a long-term reorientation toward channel, it added.
“This indicates the real risk for channel partners is to miss out on this growing demand by failing to sufficiently differentiate their service offerings.”
The report notes that MSPs could take advantage of the fact that Microsoft, Amazon, and Google still lack the niche industry knowledge required to guide end customers toward optimal cloud solutions.
How Ingram Micro Cloud can help
Ingram Micro Cloud says it can help managed service businesses overcome existing and emerging challenges and gain an edge over the competition in the three areas explored in the report and beyond.
“As the world continues to adjust to a new remote paradigm, Ingram Micro Cloud partners can choose from training and certifications in cloud infrastructure and cybersecurity, while accessing an expansive global marketplace of cloud, cybersecurity, and edge computing solutions.”
The company also noted that it is helping MSPs automate their go-to-market, sales and provisioning, making it much easier for them to become more proactive, far-sighted strategic partners to their customers.
“And as partners prepare for the large cloud players to redirect more of their efforts toward the channel, Ingram Micro Cloud will offer additional training and certifications from leading cloud infrastructure providers—including Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, and AWS—allowing partners to become trusted experts in the industry’s top cloud technologies,” it added.
Disclaimer: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.