Ingram cloud boss: Cloud driving us towards a channel golden age

Nimesh Dave, executive vice president of worldwide cloud at Ingram Micro

Nimesh Dave, executive vice president of worldwide cloud at Ingram Micro

WASHINGTON, DC — In the next ten years, the number of viable Software-as-a-Service companies in the market is expected to explode tenfold, from the current 100,000 companies, to a likely 1 million in 2028. And your company is likely to be one of them.

Speaking at the One Ingram Micro event at the Gaylord National Harbor here, the distributor’s executive vice president of worldwide cloud Nimesh Dave borrowed on the common digital transformation riff of “every company is a software company,” to tell attendees that every solution provider is a software company, or at least could be one.

“Digitization is an unprecedented opportunity for everyone in this room,” Dave said. “You’ll ultimately be an IP producer. We want to be ahead of that curve, and to be there with you.”

One of the newest features of the cloud platform developed and operated by Ingram division CloudBlue, which runs marketplaces for both the distributor and a number of large cloud aggregators, is an enhanced self-onboarding engine that will, in effect, any organization that’s developed a software-as-a-service offering to get their offerings up and running on Ingram and other CloudBlue-based marketplaces much quicker than was previously possible.

“You, yourself, could submit and launch a SaaS app in multiple geographies and territories in about four hours,” he told attendees here. “Many of you could end up a software vendor to the person sitting next to you right now.”

Ingram has long been open to solution providers offering solutions that can be “productized” as a SaaS offering, but the on-boarding process was too much of an investment for either the partners producing the would-be application, and for the distributor, which prioritizes bringing aboard and better integrating larger cloud players. This new self-service offering changes that, and creates an intriguing new path for small ISVs, or solution providers that may be heading in the way of the ISV, to get their apps up and running. And that, Dave said, is a potential game-changer for the channel.

“There’s a new golden age of the channel coming,” he predicted. “The channel gets stronger and stronger because the complexity of the solutions we manage together are increasing.”

This shift toward developing and marketing repeatable, unique intellectual property by small ISVs — which may be the offshoots of solutions developed by solution providers or even end customers — will necessarily drive a change in how distribution deals with vendors, and in many ways, takes distribution back to its roots — finding the new pieces and components for channel partners to deliver new systems — or in modern cases, cloud-based apps. 

“Now it’s our role to bring new software to you,” he said. The difference is the scale — sifting through, and identifying the right vendors among 1 million hardware vendors would have been impossible, Dave said. SaaS offerings, on the other hand, may be quite possible.

Dave touched on an upcoming program that will seek to “fast track new technologies,” a contest being run in various markets around the world to identify hot new ISVs, and help them develop both their offerings, and their channel strategy.

Greg Onoprijenko, director of the cloud business for Ingram Micro Canada

Greg Onoprijenko, director of the cloud business for Ingram Micro Canada

Meanwhile, closer to home, Ingram Micro Canada cloud chief Greg Onoprijenko sees great opportunity in a global initiative to invest more in a middle tier of ISVs — those “Goldilocks” SaaS builders who aren’t big enough to have thus far warranted the full-touch approach from Ingram enjoyed by the cloud giants of the market, but who are big enough, or their offering potentially impactful enough, to warrant more support than simple access to a self-service portal.

“These are folks who need help getting to market — we’ll qualify them, bring them aboard, help them re-platform their applications so they’re developing in the public cloud, and then work with them to go to market and give them access to thousands of partners,” Onoprijenko said. “It gives them the opportunity to launch globally within days, instead of months or years. And that just wasn’t available before.”

Initially, this program will focus on ISVs building around the Microsoft cloud stack, Onoprijenko said.

Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997.