Ingram Micro Cloud’s new APAC executive director, Richard Duggan, has only been in the job a few months, but has extensive experience working across Telstra, HP and Cisco in various Cloud related roles.
He sat down with ARN at the Ingram Micro Experience 2015 to discuss the distie’s Cloud Marketplace launch, and its future vision for the channel.
Tell us about your new role, and how it will affect A/NZ channel partners?
My role is APAC wide, and I’m responsible for building our Cloud business over here. I run the go-to-market side, sales and marketing. We also have technology and customer service divisions that roll back up to the states.
We already have a great go-to-market team in Australia and we’ve had Cloud services being sold in now for almost a year. Danny Dainton, who is head of sales here, came onboard about November or December last year, he’s my right hand man in Australia/New Zealand.
There are two sets of transaction models that we’re using: the existing stuff which is more traditional and includes the regular quoting and ordering process; and then there’s our new transactional sales motion, which is based around the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace.
As we build more and more services into the Marketplace, we will see that scaling and becoming the centre of both our world, and the partners world, for the adoption of Cloud services.
You have quite a bit of experience working in Cloud, what will that help you bring to the role?
I worked at HP in the Helion Cloud organisation, helping HP aggregrate all the pieces they’ve got across the entire organisation such as Cloud solutions, enterprise, service providers and the channels. I was focused on the service provider model for APAC. It was a separate business unit, but also an overlay role that brought all the different business units together to make sure that we had one consistent face to the customer.
Before that I was at Telstra, based in Singapore and initially running South Asia, which included India and the five or six countries in SE Asia. Half of my time there was spent building the specialist sales teams, and the sale operating model behind that.
Before that I was at Cisco for quite a long time, my last role there was data virtualisation and Cloud for the services business, so I had to sell the whole Cisco story to resellers and larger systems integrators.
Sounds like the perfect experience set for a Cloud aggregation role…
I’ve been in or around this Cloud aggregation space for some time, we knew the market was coming, I just didn’t know what part of the opportunity I could play.
So how has the response been from partners since you announced Ingram Micro Cloud?
It’s been coming for some time and we’ve been warming the market up gradually. The response is pretty much what we expected – there is a lot of interest. Before we even launched there were six registrations there – so word got out somehow…
In A/NZ especially we see a huge opportunity, they’ve always been very early adopter markets. They are probably a year or two ahead of where the Asian resellers and systems integrators are in the process. It’s over the tipping point, it's definitely real now, it's happening. There is a material shift in the market going on.
Do you have any projections or KPIs for the first year?
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We can’t quote numbers yet, but we’re obviously expecting phenomenal growth. Look, the type of profile of the people that we’re hiring, the expense we’re building into the business… so far the interest we’re seeing is warranting that investment.
The proof in the pudding will be whether we can turn that interest into the revenues that we’re expecting. I think we can, and that’s why I’m here. Our team is very excited.
With Cloud, disintermediation has always been a concern for the channel, including disties. Are you concerned that you’ll do all the hard work and the vendors will just swoop in and sell direct down the track?
We have as much chance of being disintermediated here as any other channel partners could be. Over time, yes, there is going to be some shift in that market to a direct model.
The problem with a direct model, particularly with SMBs, is that contact – the customer relationship, the ability to be flexible and add value where your customer needs it – is vital to hitting business goals.
Unless you’ve got the feet in the street, the relationships and the service delivery capabilities, I don’t think you’re going to be able to execute [direct sales] from a brand point of view.
Having those thousands of resellers, and their tens of thousands of employees, their relationships with the customers, their technical skills, has its own value.
Those [Cloud] vendors are a single brand, and someone, somewhere needs to be able to aggregate those different brand offerings into a single set of solutions and be able to deliver it, configure it, and explain to the partner how to take advantage of it.
So beyond aggregation, what is Ingram’s value-add here? Training? Partner programmes?
We’re still building our local training programmes and support networks at the moment. We’ve taken a lot of content from what they’ve done in the US and started to do in Europe – Europe is around six months ahead of us in terms of implementation, and the US is eighteen months ahead.
The first thing we’re probably going to develop is a set of fee based training offers in A/NZ that helps partners develop their business case, perhaps going one level deeper to what the vendors are doing – and then perhaps dovetail into what they’re doing.
But we want to help [partners] sell and position Cloud so we’re looking for a more tactical way of getting them into the position where they can make money. We aren’t sure on the price points yet, and we’ll start to bring those things out over the next couple of months.
Once we’ve rolled that all out, I want to see a self-sustaining model where people invest for their own success.
Any last words about Ingram Micro Cloud?
We’re here to drive scale and simplification for the Cloud, with both our platform, the team that we’ve got, and the portfolio of services that we have to offer.
I think that as we grow our platform of services, partners are going to see even more value out of coming and working with ingram.
We’ve also launched with Skykick and Microsoft, because that’s where we see a huge short term sales opportunity – the introduction of monthly payments with the CSP model.
I think it’s the right time and the right place, and there is a lot of opportunity in the Ingram Cloud market going forward. We hope to help our partners succeed.