Q&A: Scott Murphy, Ingram Micro

Scott Murphy

The UK Cloud Summit is now in its third year. What made Ingram Micro put the event on in the first place and how has the event itself evolved in that time?

The UK Cloud Summit 2019 is the perfect opportunity to showcase the great advancements our partners in cloud solutions have made over the past year which we're excited to recognise at our Gala Awards ceremony - and to acknowledge the evolving technologies that will take us into the future of cloud.

To those that joined us last year at The Institution of Engineering and Technology in London, we thank you for being part of an exciting year for us and invite you to join us again in 2019 for an even bigger event and year.

The UK Cloud Summit 2019 promises to be a game-changing event in the UK, as we bring together over 300 executives, industry disruptors and fellow thought leaders. You can find more information and sign up here.

Why should people attend this year's event?

This year's Cloud Summit will be over two days and brings together both our cloud and advanced solutions partners to discover new, disruptive technologies fueled by the cloud (Infinite Possibilities), explore ways that they can benefit from category-leading cloud solutions (Infinite Ecosystems), and grasp the challenges of transforming their business in the digital economy (Infinite Growth).

By attending, people will:

  • Gain actionable tactics from practical learning sessions
  • Network and idea share with top industry experts
  • Discover the latest cloud solutions
  • Hear world-class speakers explore the infinite possibilities of cloud
  • Learn how to streamline cutting edge SaaS, IaaS and IoT technology
  • Discover how CloudBlue accelerates XaaS monetisation

What industry trends and changes have you witnessed in the same period?

With the surge of AI, IoT, Big Data and other emerging technologies, we are ensuring that we not only have the people with the right expertise, but also the capability to deploy these solutions through our platforms. Ingram Micro Professional Services is then there to support partners in their conversations with end-users and to enable them to deliver these solutions from start to finish.

Conversely, what opportunities have you witnessed/harnessed? Either as a company or in terms of your customers?

IaaS continues to explode. We've seen our Azure Accelerate Elite partners drive growth of over 270% YoY, however, we see SaaS also continuing to accelerate.

Cyber Security isn't something new however more and more clients are looking at this as a key priority, whether it's securing the cloud or simply securing business. Ingram has invested heavily in this area to transform how we bring value to channel (VAD to Solution Provider).

Ingram Micro Services is a key focus area for us and our partners. Whether that be Professional or Managed Services or other services such as Financial. All of which continue to grow across our partner base.

Can you provide a bit more detail for those not familiar with your company?

Ingram Micro Cloud (IMC), a division of Ingram Micro UK Ltd, was established in 2014 to help its partners realise their share of the cloud market opportunity. Ingram Micro Cloud is a master cloud service provider (mCSP), offers channel partners and enterprises access to the leading global Cloud commerce platform, expertise, solutions and enabling programmes that empower organisations to realise their potential in the digital economy.

Ingram Micro Cloud is the leading Cloud aggregator in the UK and powered by CloudBlue, a foundational cloud software and services platform destined to transcend every aspect of the new, as-a-service economy.

What does cloud mean to you and what benefits do you think it brings to businesses?

I heard an expression which for me sums up the cloud well. Cloud is an experience, not a destination. Initially might sound anti-cloud however it's about supporting clients on their digital transformation journey. Benefits include enabling clients to win more business, drive differentiation and reduce complexity from daily IT tasks across AI, ML, Big Data and IoT by harnessing the power of the cloud.

Are there any stumbling blocks to success?

Businesses require correct tools, people, industry knowledge, systems and training programs to capitalise on the digitalisation opportunity. This lends itself to an immense challenge for the channel to fulfil yet with the right mCSP partner, solution and business plan it's possible to embrace the infinite potential of Cloud to infinite reality.

How is your company helping customers address key challenges in these areas and take advantage of opportunities?

We are helping in a number of ways:

1. Training

Upskilling and training staff is key to ensuring growth in 2019 with fresh and more advanced technology emerging via the channel. While talent can be difficult to obtain with the challenge of a digital skills gap in the UK, current staff can acquire new skills as well as perfecting existing abilities, helping fill these skills shortages.

Making one employee proficient in multiple roles increases their value to the business by enabling them to take on extra tasks with new technologies should they be required to. We provide a number of technically and commercially led training and enablement for our partners across a number of solution areas and cloud categories. Whether a fundamental level or advanced in knowledge, we have a team of experts on hand to help upskill our customers' businesses.

2. IaaS

While many organisations still perceive IaaS as a colossal move from what is considered a traditional IT infrastructure setup', IaaS is critical to realising the intelligent future of the cloud. Building confidence in selling IaaS, such as Microsoft Azure, and championing the innovation and growth it can bring without being afraid of new technology will be important this year and beyond. We're supporting our partners with key advanced workload packages and plays to help deliver solutions quickly and easily in-market with a host of Solution Architects and consultants. In addition, supporting partners to find new opportunities across IaaS Lifecycle service categories.

3. Understanding vertical specialisation

Getting to know your own vertical is something that often gets little attention. It's not only knowing about the sector, but it's also knowing the surrounding environment too. Make sure you become an expert in your specialisation while also considering the global and international factors that affect economies and sectors and analyse the impact of customers, competitors and suppliers on that vertical.

Get under the skin of what makes your customers and their industry tick. We've recently created a series of 8 vertical eBooks to help understand the challenges and opportunities across industries such as manufacturing, finance, retail, media legal, healthcare telecommunications and education.

How do you think the cloud landscape has evolved in the past five years?

With a generation of millennials and centennials being born into a world of digital technology, their positive attitude to the escalation of AI, robotics and automation reflects an understanding of its potential to make working life easier, safer and more productive. Due to their familiarity with cloud-powered applications and collaborative tools, the younger talent is helping to push digital transformation drives of organisations across the world.

What do you think has driven this shift?

Their progressive attitude is proving essential in encouraging employers to embrace the future and ramp up investment in the technologies that can harness the power of AI and robotics and improve the modern workplace by enabling flexible and remote working for all staff.

What other trends and patterns do you see around cloud computing and related technologies?

Adoption of cloud-first strategies, cloud consolidation and Hybrid partnership motion across businesses.

Partner to Partner collaboration across ISVs, MSPs and VARs will help build more robust and commercial solutions which are transforming industries. Focus across IoT, AI and cyber security are where we see the best opportunity. Supporting clients on their digital transformation journey and ensuring complimentary cloud solutions are bolted together is where we see our channel partners succeed.

What technologies will be driving business change and success five years from now and why?

Key tech plays we believe will drive success in five years from now is IoT, AI and cyber security and UCC. These are the areas we see as transforming the cloud sector an opportunity for the channel to maximise.

IoT is empowering businesses to improve customer experience and make better-informed decisions based on connected "things". AI is much more than just automation of processes and the real opportunity to leverage AI is across the IT environment to improve efficiencies and reduce risk. UCC for us is empowering people to collaborate, regardless of location to accelerate wider relationships.

Do you have anything else to add?

Ingram Micro is dedicated to making partner transformation simple and by leveraging the Cloud Awesomeness Roadmap which highlights four key stages of partners in their cloud adoption journey we're striving to bring value to our partners, vendors and clients with practical, business generating initiatives. Across three key unique investments in people, platform and portfolio we're helping more partners win in the digitalisation era.

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

For news pitches, you can contact Ross at ross.kelly@futurenet.com, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.