Ingram Micro is really going out on a limb with its newly announced hardware-as-a-service program during its Cloud Summit in Phoenix.
Distributors usually play it safe and let the market figure things out first before they step in. At that point, distributors are great and taking all the costs out of the business model and making it run effectively and efficiently.
Take for example, when Ingram introduced the Seismic managed services program more than half a decade ago. Managed services were not exactly new but the distributor’s brain trust back then of Justin Crotty and Kirk Robinson figured everything out and put together a plan that basically made managed services a sku.
You can’t say the same thing with its hardware-as-a-service offering because there is only No Panic Computing of Markham, Ont., doing it.
Everything Ingram has said about HaaS is true. There are no upfront costs. It does offer flexible billing. It does make back up, lifecycle management, software upgrades and security a lot easier. It does save the channel money. It does offer predictable costs. Customers are not locked into a three-year hardware lifecycle refresh.
But hardware-as-a-service is not easy. Just ask Larry Keating and Tom Ward of No Panic Computing.
The concept is brilliant and the strategy is sound. But hardware-as-a-service or notebook-as-a-service is not a runaway success the way managed services is.
Keating told CDN late last year that NPC still needs to recruit more solution providers. The company has signed some notable CDN Top 100 solution providers such as Acrodex and CDW Canada.
But Keating has had to re-invent notebook-as-a-service into safe computing-as-a-service in hopes of taking advantage of the lucrative security marketplace.
NPC’s business model is to pay an agency fee of $300 to solution providers for every system sold. It goes up to $445 for a Rogers embedded system through NPC.
And, that will be the benchmark where Ingram’s HaaS will be measured by. Ingram has yet to announce what its fees will be for HaaS.
Another factor that may challenge Ingram HaaS and NPC is the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend.
According to IDC Canada’s Krista Napier, a large percentage of corporations are managing rogue devices. Recent stats show that 36 per cent of Canadian corporations are supporting BYOD devices with email, contact lists, CRM, ERP, collaboration tools, social networks and corporate wikis.
Given these stats, BYOD will be an obstacle for hardware-as-a-service providers, whether it’s a distributor like Ingram or a solution provider like NPC.
Three quick hits before I go. Big executive changes are happening at Hitachi Data Systems (HDS). Company CEO Jack Domme has been appointed Corporate Officer of Hitachi, Ltd.
Brian Householder is the new COO of the company responsible for global sales and executive vice president and GM Randy DeMont is retiring after 12 years of service for HDS.
But that’s not all; HDS also announced that Michael Cremen has been named executive vice president, Global Sales, Kevin Eggleston was appointed senior vice president of global verticals and integration, and Neville Vincent just became the senior vice president in charge of HDS Asia Pacific.