Ingram Micro appoints first Canadian cloud boss

Greg Onoprijenko, director of cloud at Ingram Micro Canada

Greg Onoprijenko, director of cloud at Ingram Micro Canada

PHOENIX — Ingram Micro Canada has introduced Greg Onoprijenko as the distributor’s first-ever director of cloud for the country, a role that North American cloud exec Jason Bystrak told would be created just last month.

Onoprijenko’s first day at the distributor was Monday, and rather than spending the day finding his way around Ingram’s Mississauga, Ont. headquarters, he spent the day finding his way around the JW Marriott Desert Ridge here, the venue for the distributor’s annual Cloud Summit conference, which began Monday.

Thus Onoprijenko finds himself in an interesting position — on his first day on a new job, serving as the “host” for the largest-ever Canadian solution provider delegation at Cloud Summit. On one hand, it is jumping into the deep end to be sure. On the other, it affords him a unique opportunity. Ingram Micro Canada chief executive Mark Snider quipped that the company had thoughtfully arranged him in-depth strategy briefings with all of its worldwide cloud leadership on his first few days — also known as the Cloud Summit keynotes.

Fortunately, Onoprijenko is not exactly a stranger to the distributor, coming from a background in the channel as founder and president of E-ternity Business Continuity Consultants, a company he founded in 2004. In that role, Onorpijenko was a longtime Ingram partner, on the distributor’s cloud council in its early days, and “one of the early partners” involved with the Seismic services group, in many ways the predecessor to today’s Ingram Micro Cloud group.

In that role, he credits an early Seismic conference with him transforming his business from a project and products company to a recurring revenues focus, early in the game.

“After that full-day workshop we went all in for recurring revenues. I decided on the spot to change our business model completely, and it was the best decision we ever made,” Onoprijenko said.

It was not, however, an easy transition.

“It was a shock to the system, and cash flow ceased for a while. It was almost fatal,” he said in hindsight. However, going through that process allowed him to sell E-ternity in J2 Global in 2014, at a much more attractive price as a recurring revenues company than it would have earned as a project-based business.

“That was the ultimate confirmation we did the right thing” in transforming the business so quickly, he said.

In his new role, Onoprijenko will head up the distributor’s cloud activities in Canada, reporting to both Bystrak and Snider. Snider said the distributor will “bulk up the team” now that a local leader is in place. Ultimately, “the sky’s the limit” in terms of the size of the cloud organization, Snider said. The team has recently expanded to four people, prior to Onoprijenko coming on board, according to Bystrak.

Aside from getting briefed on everything that’s going on in the cloud division here at Cloud Summit, Onorpijenko said his major goal for the conference and the near future is to hear from as many of the distributor’s Canadian solution providers as possible.

“While I’ve still got a fresh perspective, I want to hear what like, what they find challenging, and get a wish list from them,” he said.

Until changes at Ingram last year, which reorganized the distributor in a way that gives national subsidiaries a great deal more autonomy than in the past, Ingram had regional rather than nation-by-nation cloud leadership, with Bystrak leading the charge for North America. As their home country, Canada also likely got a fair bit of attention from global cloud bosses Renée Bergeron and Nimesh Dave as well. But Snider said that having leadership in Canada, and particularly leadership with the experience of Onoprijenko, will allow it invest in specific cloud solutions for Canada more closely and more quickly.

“I expect to really grow as Greg figures out where we get the biggest return, because you have to focus your opportunities,” Snider said. “You want someone with the entrepreneurial spirit who says ‘Here’s where we want to invest. Here’s where we want to grow.’”

That idea of customization for the Canadian market is a key goal for Onoprijenko as well.

“We can’t assume that what’s working for the U.S. or for North America should be what’s going on in Canada,” he said.