It's been a week since the close of the Ingram Micro ONE event at the Aria in Las Vegas, and we're still not 100 per cent sure whether we can say we "actually" saw Elvis there or not.
Someone dressed liked him was most certainly in a video introducing keynote speaker, Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes Inc.
And when Forbes told delegates in his keynote address that he would rather have Elvis running the Federal Reserve than its current crop of leaders, the audience burst into such rapturous applause, it was as though the King himself had just entered the building.
Alas I have to concede that even though I was in Vegas - and an event in Las Vegas simply cannot pass without Elvis making an appearance in one form or another - I think it's fair to say that the actual king of rock'n'roll himself was not there.
The same, however, cannot be said for the kings of the IT vendor world. Microsoft, Lenovo and Acer, to name but a few, put on some pretty impressive performances - no Elvis unfortunately, but impressive nonetheless.
Microsoft in particular gave us some interesting insight into their feelings about Office 365.
Josh Condie, Microsoft partner technology strategist at Microsoft, told delegates that the firm still needed to work on its pre-sales and post-sales process for the suite.
"We have that platform maturity now, that parity and perhaps even beyond," he told delegates. "Being very honest, where I think we still lack is enabling the pre-sales process - the pre-sales and post-sales process," he added.
He also cited flexibility for partners selling the product as an area that could be improved.
On the plus side, the audience heard that the new design for SMB-specific Office 365 offers a lot more choice with a much enhanced first experience.
"There are a lot of new things you can do now," he told the audience. "We're going to make extending that first experience to be a very positive one from the customer perspective of high importance with these new plans."
And Condie wasn't the only Microsoft executive to leave the audience all shook up with what he had to say.
Dave Rich, partner sales executive for US OEM at Microsoft, made no bones about warning delegates they could neither run nor hide when it comes to the end of service for Windows Server 2003.
It wasn't quite it's now or never, but it wasn't far off.
"There were over 37 updates for Windows 2003 in 2013, so when we stop, it opens up a lot of risk for your customers," he warned delegates. "We need to make sure that those customers can continue their business [post-end of service] and keep them alive. There will be no safe haven. Now is the time to start the migration."
Other heavyweights putting on a show in Vegas were Lenovo and Acer. Sammy Kinlaw, executive director of channel sales at Lenovo, told an avid audience that the acquisition of IBM's x86 server business had been tough.
He cited, in particular, the long wait for government approval, which Channelnomics reported in August, may have been because of suspicious minds at the US Committee on Foreign Investment leading to extra scrutiny of the deal amid concerns that Chinese technology companies such as Lenovo, Huawei Technologies and ZTE could potentially place intelligence-gathering tools in US-bound products.
Kinlaw was delighted that the regulator finally approved the deal in August, and he made it quite clear to the audience that Lenovo would be turning the fortunes of the x86 business around in a relatively short space of time.
"The IBM x86 server acquisition has been tough," he told delegates. "It's taken a long time to get this deal closed...The government has approved the deal, which is really what we were waiting for to happen. Once the deal is closed, we fully believe we can make this a $5bn enterprise business with higher-margin to PC in one year."
There was also a whole lot of shaking going on down the hallway when Acer took to the stage to ask delegates to discuss the PRO desktop battle between Google and Microsoft.
John Coddington, channel account manager at Acer, told delegates that Acer will sell 1.2 million Chromebooks this year and that this is a somewhat unexpected success.
"Those sales have just taken off and it's kind of surprised a lot of people I think," he said.
The wonder of the Chromebook in the education market was discussed, with Coddington saying this was because it is fast, small, portable and easy to manage.
For business users, however, success has not come so quickly, with one delegate telling Coddington that applications were a significant factor to be considered. He added that in order to take advantage of the "rich array" of business applications available, you've got to be on the Microsoft side.
Always on my mind
Let's not forget the very people who made this whole event possible. Ingram Micro had a number of significant announcements over the four-day event.
The distributor announced a number of new hires, including industry veteran Jeff Yelton as its new executive director and general manager of its North American and data capture/POS business.
Yelton's job will be to support the expansion of Ingram's channel partner value-add on in no less than five strategic technology pillars: payment, mobility, networking, omni-channel retailing and SaaS solutions.
Ingram also announced the appointment of Bob Gutschenritter, a telecom veteran, who is set to head a team of unified communications and collaboration (UCC) specialists to work with channel partners to advocate and advance the adoption of UCC solutions throughout North America's SMEs.
And though Elvis did not, in fact, make an appearance at the event, the mood music sounded rather like his 1962 track We'll Be Together, with Ingram announcing various partnerships and deals over the course of the four days.
Its deal with IBM's SoftLayer is proof of a shift in the market, according to Dan Shapero, director of global marketing at Ingram.
He also pointed out the benefits to both sides of the relationship: "It provides us with a bare-metal solution in the cloud, which is great for things like business continuity and disaster recovery, and it's great for the IBM channel if you look at it from their perspective.
It's also great from Ingram's perspective to help Softlayer launch a service like that into their IBM channel, so that's another proof point from this shift in the market."
Of its other couplings, the key announcements for Ingram were an expansion of its relationship with HP to accelerate HP's PartnerOne learning and certification initiative and Ingram being named a Citrix Authorized Learning Center.
On top of all this, Ingram Micro also announced that it is broadening its US vertical market strategy to include retail and finance. In the firm's announcement, Kirk Robinson, senior vice president at the distributor, said that its continued leadership, growth and partner enablement within the education, federal and healthcare markets, as well as state and local, is well documented.
"[This] will provide us with a solid blueprint for success that will accelerate our efforts within these two high-opportunity verticals," he added.
It's fair to say then that it was a busy few days for Ingram at its first Ingram Micro ONE autumn event.
The kings of the vendor world were out in force, and Ingram certainly made its presence felt.
Viva Las Vegas might be taking it a little too far, but Viva Ingram? I think that's a fair way to sum up the show.
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