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Apr 09


Get Your Cloud Objections Answered at Cloud Summit 2013

Today marked the beginning of the fourth annual Ingram Micro Cloud Summit and my first day as the new CloudTalk blogger. The day began with the Wildfire Golf Tournament, held on the grounds at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort & Spa at 7:30 a.m. This year’s event was sponsored by CyrusOne, a Denver-based enterprise data center and colocation facility, and a new Ingram Micro vendor partner. Even with the weather being a bit windy, the event attracted 106 golfers who were unwilling to let anything put a damper on their fun.

While checking into this year’s summit, I couldn’t help but notice Cisco’s telepresence room, which took up a large space in the main hall area. Cisco conducted meetings with its channel partners throughout the day, highlighting its technology by connecting VARs with other Cisco execs and business partners from all over the globe via Cisco’s HCS (Hosted Collaboration Solution) platform.

Probably the most talked about segments from today were the breakout sessions, which focused on topics such as bundling cloud services as solutions, the art of closing, building your cloud sales culture, financing your cloud offering, marketing and selling your cloud services, and Women in the Cloud. The latter event was moderated by Gennifer Biggs, sr. group manager, marketing communications, Ingram Micro. Gen was the former Ingram Micro CloudTalk blogger and also a colleague of mine for several years in our former lives as Business Solutions magazine editors. (And, yes, for the record, I do realize I have some big shoes to fill!) Gen shared with me that the Women in the Cloud breakout session, which was available only to women, attracted more than 60 participants, all very engaged in open conversations about topics such as mentoring, balancing responsibilities, and breaking through the glass ceiling — if one still exists.

At this evening’s welcome session, the majority of the 800+ attendees (including more than 500 resellers) turned out, discussing today’s sessions, comparing notes, and networking with their vendor partners and peers. It was interesting to eavesdrop on some of the conversations and hear resellers comparing ideas and even mapping out their plans for attending additional breakout sessions tomorrow. I overheard one reseller telling another that he got a lot out of Jason Bystrak’s breakout session, titled: Building Your Cloud Sales Culture. Bystrak is the sales director, cloud services, Ingram Micro, and he will be speaking again on Wednesday during the afternoon breakout session.

I also had the opportunity today to interview and converse with several Ingram Micro VARs and MSPs and to get to know more about what drew them to the Cloud Summit. One VAR’s candor nicely summed up what I think many others were thinking, but not wanting to reveal: “I’m losing hardware profit margins to the cloud, and I’m here to try and figure out what I need to change to turn things around.” If you can’t get answers to this fundamental question here at the Cloud Summit, then something’s seriously wrong. But, looking at the topics covered today as well as what’s on the agenda for tomorrow, I think it’s very safe to assume VARs coming to this event with fears and skepticism about making money from the cloud are going to leave with a whole new perspective.

Tomorrow’s welcome session, which is being led by Master of Ceremonies Don Allison from The Mark of a Leader, Inc. promises to be full of timely advice. We’ll also hear from special guest speaker Captain James A. Lovell Jr., the Apollo 13 Mission Commander, and there are a ton of exciting breakout sessions planned as well.

To keep up to date key happenings from Cloud Summit 2013, get the latest updates on Twitter, searching the #IMcloud2013 tag for up-to-the minute highlights from event presenters and participants.