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Apr 10


Apollo 13, The Cloud, And You

Another mountain top event from today’s Ingram Micro Cloud Summit came from special guest speaker Captain James A. Lovell, the Mission Commander from Apollo 13. I have attended many motivational speeches and celebrity keynotes in my days as an editor, but this one stands out from the rest for a couple of key reasons: first, it involves a real life astronaut and second, it deals with an astronaut that faced extreme adversity while on a mission to the moon who defied the odds and lived to tell about it. If you haven’t seen the movie Apollo 13 or read the book by the same name, I highly recommend both.

There are lots of life lessons Lovell drew from his near-fatal trip aboard the Apollo 13 moon mission. Among the lessons, however, there was one piece of advice he shared that I thought was particularly relevant to your IT solutions business: “Even when things are going well for you, you should take a look down the tracks and try to anticipate what new challenges/obstacles could be coming your way and start preparing now.” In Lovell’s situation, this referred to the special contingency training he had gone through, which addressed the worst-case scenarios in space travel. Months before the Apollo 13’s mission, these special procedures were removed from the onboard procedure manual because the crew felt they were simply “unnecessary extra weight.”  VARs and MSPs express this same mentality when they refuse to acknowledge the trend that their customers’ desktops, servers, and applications are moving to the cloud, and instead of adapting to these changes they continue trying to sell on-premise-only solutions because that’s what best fits their business model.

The VARs and MSPs that understand this principle are the ones that are adapting their businesses and actually starting to make money selling cloud solutions and services, as opposed to those taking a hands off approach to the cloud who inevitably end up asking themselves “What happened?” as new business opportunities  pass them by.

Lovell’s experience speaks to one other important truth about your cloud business, which is the fact that you’re not going to be successful on your own. As intelligent as Lovell is, he admitted to making a couple of mistakes during the final critical hours of Apollo 13’s mission, which if it hadn’t been for the intervention of his fellow astronauts as well as competent men and women communicating with he and his crew from ground control would have ended in disaster. And, so it is with our cloud business: you can try to evaluate cloud service providers on your own and figure out how to bundle their services for your customers, or you can simplify your business by letting Ingram Micro handle the due diligence of vetting vendors and bundling complementary solutions, which allows you to focus on tasking care of your customers.