Top three observations from Mobile World Congress 2018
I have been going to Mobile World Congress for 5 years and this was the most exciting one yet. During the three-day event, I had the opportunity to connect with over 40 partners in our Ingram Micro Pavilion.
Additionally, more than 1,000 prospects and current partners came by to hear the Ingram Micro Cloud message around our platform's infinite potential—primarily focused on scale, an infinite ecosystem, and go-to-market and enablement services. More and more service providers now understand why we are the perfect partner for digital transformation.
After listening closely to the needs of our customers and prospects this week, I came up with my top three observations based on the valuable time spent with them at #MWC18:
1. Telcos are still struggling with the complexity of their own digital transformation. Time-to-revenue and knowledge are the biggest hurdles.
It's no longer enough to have a platform; you also need to know how to sell the services. (If they build it, customers won't just come). One prospect said, "We are ready to get started with a platform and we love how Ingram Micro has hundreds of already-connected ISVs. Along with our own services, we're now ready to deliver multiple solutions to our entire customer base in four countries. But how do we actually sell?"
Clearly, digital transformation requires a connected ecosystem, but it also requires a partner who can provide the technology—along with enablement services and knowledge on how to sell to your base and create demand for new customers.
2. IoT is on everyone's mind—and it was everywhere at MWC.
IoT was all around us—in every shape, form and function. We saw IoT drills, we learned about partners doing IoT smart metering in Colombia, and we talked with a partner doing IPTV in Nigeria. There was even IoT wine! It's no wonder more than 65% of visitors to our booth asked about this technology.
Already, IoT is powering cutting-edge technology in every segment and in every vertical. I believe IoT is just one more implementation of anything as a service (XaaS), which is powered perfectly by the Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace. Simply put, if you can do XaaS, you can do IoT. MWC18 allowed us to go behind the scenes and get the complete view of not just what IoT devices can do, but also how XaaS comes together and how companies can digitally transform around it.
Successful service providers are immediately diving more deeply into the "how" and asking what IoT or XaaS digitalization and monetization means for them. They realize they need to invest in technology or platforms such as 5G (which was also everywhere at MWC18) that best support IoT, or in a cloud platform like the Ingram Micro Cloud Platform that enables them to transform beyond their core services.
They also want to partner with the right hardware and SaaS providers to build complete solutions. On the monetization side, service providers are looking to partner with teams that have strong connections with other vendors as well as the expertise to help them get their services to market and adopted at scale.
3. CEOs are valuing new revenue streams and new customer acquisition over cost savings. However, they are still hesitant and often don't have the internal resources to scale.
One new prospect who stopped by our #MWC18 booth said, "I have my services for my customers; I just need a platform or marketplace to deliver them." We heard this several times, probably because service providers get to a point where their current systems just can't scale. It then becomes worth it for them to invest in a tool like the Ingram Micro Cloud services platform, which includes over 200 connected ISVs and a host of robust enablement services. The potential ROI is massive, and without these new customers and revenue streams, service providers cannot thrive and they may be unable to survive.
Overall, the opportunity to help partners solve for these issues was evident. And we were extremely pleased to find so many potential partners who shared our strategic vision around how to digitally transform—and get more cloud services into more people's hands as quickly as possible throughout the world.
Next up is our biggest event of the year—the 9th annual Ingram Micro Cloud Summit in Boca Raton, Florida, from April 30 – May 2. I hope you'll join us to further explore the future of cloud—and how XaaS, IoT and other emerging technologies can help you grow your business.