By Hailey Henry, AWS Global Alliance Lead – Ingram Micro Cloud
|Ingram Micro Cloud|
Ingram Micro Cloud announced a Global Strategic Collaboration Agreement (SCA) with Amazon Web Services (AWS) this year, entering a multi-year joint investment plan geared towards accelerating the growth of AWS Partners worldwide as a global AWS Distributor.
But what is an AWS Distributor, and what role does a distributor play in the AWS ecosystem?
Traditionally, the indirect distribution network played a key role in the distribution of IT hardware and software products at competitive pricing.
With the shift to cloud, and the growing trend towards cloud-based services and as-a-service models, the “channel”—comprised of distributors, resellers, and managed service providers (MSPs)—seized the opportunity for growth as it faced a disruption in the traditional business model.
Pivoting from their transactional role, distributors shifted to playing a more strategic function in the channel and the way that cloud products and services are delivered.
Distributors like Ingram Micro made serious investments in cloud, offering value-added services and automated processes to efficiently deliver solutions to customers and provide significant scale through the channel.
As a global AWS Distributor, Ingram Micro Cloud has a reach of over 1,000 AWS Partners in the AWS Partner Network (APN) and supports hundreds of partners from the registered level all the way to Premier Partners in both commercial and the public sector.
Leveraging the AWS Distribution Program, distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud are supporting a wide range of AWS Partners, including systems integrators (SIs), MSPs, value-added resellers, independent software vendors (ISVs), public sector organizations, and more.
For their community of partners, AWS Distributors often play the role of a solutions aggregator and serve as a strategic cloud ally to AWS.
What Does an AWS Distributor Do?
AWS Distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud work closely with AWS to serve as an extension of the AWS field teams. They are key contributors in enabling partner growth and APN advancement, opportunity acceleration, and speed to market.
There are four key areas we see distributors providing value to their AWS Partners.
Based on their strengths and capabilities, distributors provide AWS Partners with resources that help them resell AWS services, package go-to-market (GTM) offers, support pipeline and opportunity management, assist in end-customer lead generation, and more.
Ingram Micro Cloud can provide pre-sales technical support through its Solutions Design & Services (SD&S) team to scope projects and produce estimates on behalf of partners for their own end customers. This lowers the barrier to entry for partners just starting their journey on AWS.
In the public sector space, AWS Distributors offer partners an accelerated path to market by providing access to contracts and procurement pathways to public sector end customers. Distributors may also help their partners identify government solicitations involving cloud, provide technical support to scope the solicitation and provide pricing, and work hand-in-hand with them to submit a bid.
Distributors provide consulting on business planning, competency development, training and certifications guidance, APN tier upgrades leveraging APN programs like Navigate Foundations paths, and more.
Ingram Micro Cloud has its own unique partner programs to programmatically deliver these benefits to partners based on the their own business goals. Validated AWS Distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud can also deliver APN Immersion Days to partners, as well as on behalf of its partner to their end customers, and then transfer the benefits of that program downstream.
There are a number of services that an AWS Distributor can provide to ease the upfront investment of technical resources. Ingram Micro Cloud has over 200 AWS Certifications and leverages those skills to provide its partners with professional services. This helps Ingram Micro Cloud to service end customers, offer pre-sales support, and provide services like Well-Architected Reviews as a validated member of the AWS Well-Architected Partner Program.
Similarly with other programs, AWS Distributors can transfer the benefits of the program designations it has achieved to downstream partners, which takes the burden off of the partner to build and resource their own technical teams to access these benefits.
Additionally, distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud are authorized as official AWS Training Partners (ATPs) and can offer a wide range of AWS-authored training directly to its partners and offer discounted courses and AWS certification exam vouchers.
Business and Financial Support
The fourth area of benefits includes services such as complementary billing platforms, operational and back-office billing support, reserved instance (RI) optimization and management services, and creative financing options.
For example, Ingram Micro has financing programs and flexible credit options that ease cash-flow challenges for channel partners, making it easier for those interested in expanding their managed services business and cloud practices.
Engagement Model with Distribution
There are various entities that can transact with AWS, including end customers, partners, and distributors.
When an end customer transacts directly with AWS, they can leverage support directly from AWS, fully manage their transactions, and be responsible for their own AWS accounts. However, customers sometimes look to AWS Partners to help them offload management of their accounts, develop solutions, or deliver managed services.
There are various reasons why an end customer chooses to work with a partner—whether it be a need for services that require wider or more experienced AWS skill sets, or simply to shift their in-house resources to focus on other priorities and value-added tasks.
When a partner resells AWS services and engages in the transaction on behalf of an end customer, the end customer can still take full advantage of AWS while the reseller owns the management of their end customers’ accounts and billing responsibilities. The partner receives support from AWS, which varies based on the partner’s level of maturity in their APN journey.
More mature partners with an established AWS business may have dedicated Partner Development Managers (PDMs), who help them develop their AWS practice, Partner Solutions Architects (PSAs), who help them with technical guidance and support, and other resources to enable them throughout the engagement.
However, even AWS Partners sometimes need more support to build greater scalability and maintain a profitable business, which can be established through the right distributor.
When an AWS Distributor engages in the transaction on behalf of the partner for their end customers, the distributor owns the management of the accounts, including all billing responsibilities, and can pass down additional benefits that partners can leverage for their end customers.
Distributors like Ingram Micro Cloud—particularly now with the commitment of a global strategic collaboration agreement from AWS—receive a wide range of support, including dedicated PDMs, technical resources, and more to ensure the success of its partners globally.
For partners who don’t have direct access to support from AWS, the distributor is able to provide the support they needs through its own skilled associates, as well as through the resources dedicated to the distributor. The partner can offload pre-sales activities, migration services, managed services, and billing management.
Figure 1 – Sample scenario of what an end customer receives through the distribution engagement model.
Through distribution, partners have access to the same benefits they receive in a direct relationship with AWS, and more. We call this parity-plus. As partners join the APN and qualify for specific programs, they can unlock different levels of funding benefits through AWS.
Funding programs include APN Innovation Sandbox Credits, Market Development Funds (MDF), Partner Opportunity Acceleration (POA) funds, and more. Beyond that, partners can now access the benefits that a distributor like Ingram Micro Cloud unlocks, such as the Migration Acceleration Program (MAP) funds.
Distributors capable of accessing higher-level programs can pass down these benefits to its partners and enable them to develop a greater competitive advantage that wouldn’t be achievable otherwise.
Distribution Success Story
To better articulate the impact of the value of distribution, let’s take a look at Ingram Micro Cloud’s partner, Data Canopy, and their end customer, Itiviti.
Data Canopy is a hybrid infrastructure provider delivering private, public, and colocation hosting to its customers. Data Canopy was new to AWS at the time and bidding for a project with Itiviti, a leading technology and service provider to financial institutions worldwide. Itiviti wanted to transform their entire electronic trading platform to enable clients to scale computing costs and respond more quickly to abrupt market changes.
Being new to AWS and starting as a registered partner, Data Canopy needed the experience and the AWS skill sets required for the opportunity with Itiviti. Leveraging Ingram Micro Cloud’s deep bench of AWS Certified professionals and expertise around the AWS Cloud Adoption Framework, Data Canopy was able to offer the resources needed for the project without the heavy upfront investment.
Through Ingram Micro Cloud’s Advanced Consulting Partner status and progress towards the AWS Migration Competency, the partner was able to immediately access MAP benefits and offer funding for the sizeable project, which is not typically a benefit that would be available for partners at the APN’s registered level.
Itiviti selected Data Canopy and Ingram Micro Cloud’s Professional Services team for the project, allowing them to have direct access to a local partner like Data Canopy but with the experience and backing of a global enterprise distributor like Ingram Micro Cloud.
Itiviti expects to see immediate benefits from its transformation to the AWS Cloud, such as improved operational performance, increased efficiency, greater security, and reduced IT costs, with the goal of enabling future growth and driving business innovation.
For more details on the project, read Itiviti’s press release.
Throughout the multi-year global strategic collaboration, Ingram Micro Cloud and AWS will accelerate initiatives to increase reach and footprint in existing geographic markets and expand into new ones to provide this level of distributor support for more partners globally.
Ingram Micro Cloud will develop new solutions and services to enable and augment the service capabilities of AWS Partners to drive greater AWS adoption across SMB end customers, as well as scale AWS adoption with emerging ISVs.
Additionally, the collaboration will see both organizations work together to bolster Ingram Micro Cloud’s current skills and offerings to continue to bring greater value to AWS Partners.
The content and opinions in this blog are those of the third-party author and AWS is not responsible for the content or accuracy of this post.
Ingram Micro Cloud – AWS Partner Spotlight
Ingram Micro Cloud is a global AWS Distributor that supports hundreds of AWS Partners from the registered level all the way to Premier Partners in both commercial and the public sector.
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