In May, two of our MRE Tech Team experts, Tiphanie Wood and Shayon Mazumder attended the 2023 Global Cloud Innovation Summit (GCIS) conference by Ingram Micro in Las Vegas. There they showcased MRE, met vendors, and even presented a pitch to the Microsoft Shark Tank event.
The GCIS event serves as a hub where IT-managed service partners convene to explore the latest trends, advancements, and technology that Ingram Micro and Microsoft have to offer. Recently, we caught up with Tiphanie Wood, our IT Account Coordinator, and got the scoop on all the conference insights and unforgettable moments from this year’s event.
Why did you attend the GCIS 2023 conference? What made it special?
We attended the GCIS 2023 conference to connect with vendors, meet people from Ingram Micro, engage with other Managed Service Providers (MSPs), and learn about new offerings. It was our second-year attending, and this year was special because it combined the Cloud Summit with the Trust X Alliance peer group, creating a unique event. Attending the conference is also a way to celebrate our relationship and journey with Ingram Micro. It also gives us a chance to showcase our company, MRE Consulting, and engage with our peers from across the country.
Did you face any challenges while traveling to the conference?
Yes, I had a ton of travel issues including flight delays and cancellations trying to get to Las Vegas from Houston. My husband and I eventually got on a new flight from Houston to Vegas, but it turns out that it was a flight to LAX with a changeover to Vegas! By the time we got to LAX it was midnight and we had missed our connection. The next flight wasn’t till 9:30 am the next day and my presentation at GCIS was at 10am, so to make it to the conference on time, we decided to rent a car and drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas instead. We drove straight there without getting any sleep, arriving at our Las Vegas hotel at 6am. Then we had to go pick up our luggage at the Las Vegas airport, because it had arrived in Las Vegas ahead of us. We dropped off the rental car and then I was on the go all day at the conference. By the time I gave the MRE presentation to the Trust X Alliance group I had been wake for over 36 hours straight.
Did MRE win any awards at the conference?
While we didn’t win any of the GCIS awards this year, we did have the opportunity to participate in the Microsoft Shark Tank. As soon as I gave my presentation to the Trust X Alliance, I ran from the Convention Center side of the hotel to the Alibi Lounge to see what the results were for the Shark Tank competition. As I walked in and they’re like, “First place goes to…” and it wasn’t us. I was like, “How am I ever going to find Shay now?!”, and then I heard, “Tiph! Tiph!”. I turned my head and Shay was right there with this big ol’ check, grinning ear to ear. Then he said, “We got third place!” I was shocked and then everybody started coming up, saying, “Oh my God, you guys deserve it! You did so good!”. Everybody was super excited for us, and we were very excited to win too. It was so nice to hear people from Ingram Micro and Microsoft recognize us and tell us that we really deserved to win and that they had heard really great things about us.
Even past Ingram team members were there congratulating us. Erin Michaels was one of the first people we worked with at Ingram Micro, and she came up to me and said, “I’m so excited for you guys. You guys have come so far since we worked together years before,” and it was just really nice to see how far we’ve come from 2017 to 2023 since we started with Ingram Micro.
What did MRE pitch to the Shark Tank?
Our pitch was for the tool we have been slowly crafting and perfecting over the years, Audix Insights. I remember when I first started at MRE almost seven years ago, Audix Insights had just one function. Over the years we have gone from one product of Audix Insights to three products of it. The whole team has been part of the growth and development of Audix Insights. Because Emilio Chemali and Adam Gomes (the architects) were always so great at asking our entire division for feedback on how to improve and grow the tool. Like any new features, we’d like to see added, or if there’s something that would benefit our customers, or help make our daily jobs easier. Now all those features from years of feedback and real-world experience are built into Audix Insights making it the robust all-in-one IT solution that we have today.
Watching Shay present our tool, Audix Insights to a lounge filled with Microsoft and Ingram heavyweights was wonderful! It makes you feel so good. I’m definitely not the brains behind Audix Insights at all, but we’ve all had our part in trying to make it better and promote the tool we created. It just makes you feel so good, it’s like, “Look! Look at what my company did!”.
Can you explain our partnership with Ingram Micro?
Our partnership with Ingram Micro is crucial for our business. They provide a wide range of software and technology solutions that we resell, and through this partnership, we receive valuable support and connections with new vendors. Ingram Micro acts as an umbrella, offering different products and services that enhances our offerings to clients. They also provide VIP support through a dedicated Teams channel, ensuring timely assistance for any issues we face. We can quickly escalate any Microsoft problems for our clients because we have that VIP relationship with Ingram.
Ingram Micro presents the GCIS conference and it’s an incredible experience. MRE is a company that values relationships and reinvests in its people, and our partnership with Ingram Micro reflects this philosophy. Despite Ingram Micro being a large company, it maintains a family-like atmosphere, and former employees who now work for vendors still consider themselves part of the Ingram family. Attending the conference allows us to feel supported and celebrate our growth together.
I’m really happy with our relationship with Ingram. But, also, I’m happy to be able be an advocate for our clients. I can give feedback directly to Ingram or Microsoft on what doesn’t work for our clients and know that my feedback will be heard.
Can you tell us about your experience with other vendors & MSPs at the conference?
At the conference, we had the opportunity to meet with various vendors. Before the conference, our Ingram Rep will ask who we would want to meet and what we want to meet about and then set those meetings up for us.
One noteworthy potential partnership we explored was with a company called GOTO. I was able to meet with them and they took us out for a vendor dinner, and it was just a wonderful time. We were at Tom Colicchio’s Steakhouse in The MGM Grand Hotel. It wasn’t so much about doing business, but as getting to know the company and go in more depth on a personal level. Ingram Micro really strives to build strong connections between their resellers like MRE and their vendors. We actually have a meeting next week to have them demo for us to see if we might be pursuing them as another vendor in the future.
What new features or announcements from the conference are you excited about?
Microsoft’s copilot and the new Ingram Micro Xvantage Platform were a standout for me. Microsoft’s copilot is a new Ai assistant for 365 apps like Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. The new Xvantage platform consolidates multiple Ingram shopping platforms into a single site. It’s a one stop shop for customers. I’ll be able to order anything I need in one area and be able to see where it is during all stages of the procurement process.
What was the highlight of the conference for you?
The highlight of the conference was undoubtedly turning around and seeing Shay’s excitement as he held up that big check. It symbolized all the hard work and growth we’ve achieved at MRE. I feel like we presented our baby to the world, and everyone loved it. It makes the long days, nights, and the weekends we spent worth it. I’m just overjoyed by the response we got. We have lots of follow up meetings already scheduled about Audix Insights with Microsoft and Ingram.
Overall, how do you feel about the GCIS 2023 conference?
Overall, the GCIS 2023 conference was an amazing experience. Despite the travel challenges, it was a valuable opportunity to connect with vendors, meet fellow MSPs, and explore new potential partnerships. For me this year was important to expand my horizons, get out of my comfort zone because with the growth of our business I now get to go to a lot of events and meetings. It was really nice being able to sit down and talk with other MSP’s and exchange ideas and thoughts—like what tools work for you, vendor wise. A reoccurring theme I noticed from the MSP presentations I saw was “one tool” was needed to help get IT insights quickly and I was like Audix Insights can do that! So that could be a whole new market for us. Presenting Audix Insights not just to our clients but also to other MSPs for them to use.
I told Shay, I have a picture of all the GCIS winners from this year and my motivation is not seeing MRE on there. So next year MRE’s going to be there somewhere!