The rise of cloud means that distributors now have as much "skin in the game" as partners, according to Ingram Micro Cloud's northern Europe VP Apay Obang-Oyway.
Obang-Oyway (pictured) told CRN that Ingram Micro now works more closely with partners than ever, providing a range of cloud services to end users on behalf of partners and helping them plan their own business transformation.
He claimed that the supply chain is now more integrated than it was when, for example, a server was passed down through the channel.
"Cloud has enabled a greater level of transparency as far as the supply chain is concerned," he said.
"That greater transparency does mean that we have as much skin in the game with the partner's success as the partner does itself.
"The experience that the end customer has is no longer just about the particular partner they've bought from. If that partner doesn't deliver, it has a knock-on effect and impacts other partners in the supply chain and the overall provider of the public cloud, whichever hyper-scale provider that is.
"Everyone in the chain now has a closer link than ever before [and] far more integration exists between all the delivery players. We're all stakeholders in the customer's experience."
Obang-Oyway said that the channel can broadly be split into three speeds of cloud adoption at the moment: those that are firmly working in cloud already, those that are aware they need to transform but are struggling to change their business model, and those that remain happy with the margins they make on servers and other hardware.
He claimed that partners in that third speed might think their business is still running well, but may see a change almost overnight.
"Channel providers that are just reselling - in the short term it can work, but medium to long term it's not sustainable," he said.
"For today's reality and environment it is OK, but for tomorrow's business it may not be good enough and the challenge is, the change happens so fast that it can cripple you."
Obang-Oyway said that Ingram Micro is continuously investing in building out its cloud infrastructure and services offering for partners, but claimed that others in the industry are flattering to deceive by merely reselling cloud services and not putting their money where their mouth is.
"We're investing in the areas that we should be: building the infrastructure that allows our customer to sell cloud services and focus their investment on their own business, and let distribution invest in the backbone that is needed," he said.
"The stronger and more progressive distributors are certainly investing in that way.
"There are other players that are essentially reselling cloud services but aren't necessarily investing in the same way as others such as us. That has a place today but if you start thinking of a medium-term strategy, from a partner perspective is that what [they] need as [they're] growing? You need a partner that has skin in the game."
As CRN reported last month, the world's largest vendors appear to have ended the debate between public and private cloud, settling on a multicloud approach that will see end users utilise both infrastructure types in a hybrid model.
The theory is backed up by recent vendor partnerships between Amazon Web Services and VMware, and Dell and Microsoft.
Obang-Oway said that while this may be the case for enterprises and organisations in highly regulated environments, for SMBs the approach will likely be 100 per cent public cloud.
"From an SMB perspective, my view is that it's a pure cloud play except for regulated industries," he said.
"From an economic standpoint, if you look at the vast amount of capabilities that you can gain from the cloud, it's enterprise-class compute at SMB value.
"Most SMBs are moving more and more to pure [public] cloud play. I've been to one end user where they have no IT infrastructure except for the devices they're using and a router. You're seeing that more and more and when you start to think about it, the cost of entering a market is being reduced fundamentally because of this.
"This is why you can have organisations like Airbnb come in without any infrastructure and be as big as they are."
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