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10 key takeaways from Ingram Micro's UK Cloud Summit

Channel continues to be key to enterprise digital transformation

With research from PwC suggesting that movement in digital transformation stems from a collaboration of power perspectives, the channel knows all too well the challenges of sustaining the digital dialogue. Ensuring that people are at the forefront of their mission, the channel seeks to continue its disruption as the core focus of human experience propels it further into discovery.

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And this is exactly what made the UK Cloud Summit the ever more spectacular; people coming together to enable the human experience that channel brings. This mindset can be used to encourage our partners to think in the same way and drive business forward.

To be able to host two days of celebration featuring unique keynotes, insightful breakout tracks and invaluable networking opportunities, is a testament to the great relationships we have with all stakeholders of the channel and our partners.

The cloud-coveted reigns were passed over to our brilliant speakers who delivered excellent conducive presentations over the two days, covering contemporary concepts on cyber security, hybrid cloud, collaborative tools and novel ways to enhance your ROI.

So, what are the ten key takeaways from UK Cloud Summit?

1 - Cloud for competitive advantage

Scott Murphy, Director of Cloud, Ingram Micro UK&I, expresses that cloud isn't the enabler of revolutionary tech, but plays a deeper role of epitomising the crux of transformation; a true implement of competitive advantage.

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Whilst an enabler creates a catalyst for change, it's a means to an end. To truly harbour the digital transformation age, you need a means in itself. Cloud technology is the foundation of a new way of working, collaborating and driving new advanced solutions, from which can only develop from our partners.

Our role is to unleash and sustain this unprecedented potential.

2 - Education is key to better security

What creates a better future for our cloud solutions? Having access to the right tools so that we can better protect ourselves.

As told by our guest speaker, Alexis Conran (best known for BBC Three's The Real Hustle), we're the most vulnerable to cyber threats because of our involvement in the industry. As advocates of technology and cyber security, we can often fall short.

It's important to still carry due diligence into our decisions to navigate the landscape that we've often set up ourselves, because as Alexis expressed, nothing is 100% secure.

3 - Service providers need to be service integrators

According to Leigh Schvartz, head of cloud and MSP offerings at Fujitsu, seats provisioned and managed by a service provider are set to double in the next five years.

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Opening new potential in enhancing strategic management, this manifests a new way of supporting partners. People now want more of a service integrator, a service provider who can work side-by-side to uncover more business opportunity and scale more.

4 - Partnering to offer a wider range of services

Not every provider can service all the needs of their customer. While large companies such as Fujitsu can scale up to orchestrate the major cloud platforms, smaller service provider partners don't have the resources or the people to be specialised enough to go through all of them - which is why partnerships are emerging in ecosystems.

"So you might have an infrastructure specialist partner, and a co-locator and an application consultancy on Azure, all team up, work together to build something that they could all take to market," says one speaker at the event.

5 - Providers need to vary their pricing models

Many companies have adopted subscription pricing models, but this may not suit some providers, or indeed some customers. For mid-sized service providers, for example, the heavy investment needed cannot accommodate the as-a-service package.

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Paying for what you use is becoming increasingly popular, but it's also becoming apparent that businesses prefer a fixed term contract behind this to mitigate risk.

6 - Private hosted cloud is becoming more popular

From a cloud perspective, private environments hosted by the service provider are going to be very popular.

"As people prepare to move things to the public cloud, if that is the direction of travel, actually offsetting it to a private hosted service provider, in the first instance, makes sense," said one speaker.

7 - Cyber protection has evolved from data protection

The talk around the protection of information and cyber security within enterprises shouldn't be limited to just hardware. It's now evolved beyond that, according to Ronin McCurtin, vice president of Northern Europe for Acronis.

He says this now includes privacy, authenticity and security, particularly as the amount of data being processed has exploded in recent years creating greater demand for multiple storage repositories.

"Suddenly, our data went from being on our laptop to being everywhere," he says. "We need to provide a solution so we know that our data can be actually protected when it's out there."

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One example of a threat to enterprises is ransomware. "A lot of companies are going to be attacked by ransomware and we need to make sure that they're protected from those kinds of situations going forward."

8 - Authenticity will take centre stage

Making sure that emails, messages, etc are authentic will be much more important and easier to do.

McCurtin says that end users will need technology working together to make sure that messages sent to each were genuinely from the sender. Notarising such communications using blockchain technology could help in quarantining such messages.

9 - Embracing a multi-cloud strategy

Rob Price, UK Partner Organisations CTO at Cisco, presented Cisco's view on how enterprises are embracing a multi-cloud strategy.

Many organisations have come to the cloud via shadow IT and used it in a siloed way. IT managers now need to administrate the many clouds that the organisation uses. Cisco's advice here is that businesses think about the many options available to them, create implementation plans and proof of value and achievable milestones.

10 - The channel needs to start small in cloud

Executive vice president of Ingram Micro Cloud Global, Nimesh Dav, told delegates at the summit that partners need to "start off small" when moving to the cloud and find a niche where they know they can do well.

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This, he says, means building up a practice around small applications stacks and be better than anyone else at it.

The cloud is opening the doors for the channel and service providers who put the human experience at the heart of their activities. Digital transformation works best when businesses and partners work together for the greater good - when they work in tandem, they can be unstoppable.

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