Insight cloud guru snubs global job, walks over to Brit upstart

Ash Patel heading to 'more exciting' role at Cobweb Solutions

Ash Patel, the man who helped Insight Enterprises shape and lead its cloud strategy in Europe, has not only turned down a global services role at the firm but is now hot-footing it to rival Microsoft house Cobweb Solutions.

Patel led UK cloud biz development from 2011 and was made EMEA head of the fluffy white stuff two years later. Insight, like other enterprise software resellers, is trying to dilute its reliance on low-margin licensing.

In a statement sent to The Channel, Insight confirmed the departure of its cloudy guru, describing him as a “key contributor in defining our Insight Cloud Strategy in EMEA for the last couple of years”.

Cloud sales in Europe for non-Microsoft software-as-a-service have grown by 70 per cent from a base of around €3m when Patel started, our internal sources say – but this is not an official Insight number.

Despite this, a company-wide restructure last summer saw Insight carve up Patel’s role into numerous jobs, with a market leader and solutions architect for each of three areas including hybrid cloud, modern workplace and licence consulting.

Insight told us it offered Patel the “opportunity to be a core member of our Worldwide Cloud Leadership team" operating out of Phoenix, Arizona.

“Unfortunately, due to family reasons he has decided to stay in Europe and pursue an opportunity outside of Insight in Europe. We wish Ash all the best for his future career,” the statement added.

Talking to El Chan, Patel confirmed he is headed to Cobweb as director of business transformation later this month.

“It was a privilege to take Insight to the point where it classified itself as a provider in the cloud space. The challenge Cobweb is offering fits my skills and future aspirations better, it’s more exciting”.

Patel is the latest senior person to leave Insight following the exit of multiple directors in the UK and EMEA, including Justin Griffiths, Tony Brooker, Gary Butters, Tom Nesbit and Ashley Gatehouse.

The list of departures doesn't end there: EMEA sales veep Frank Bitoun, Johan Dåderman, strategic advisor for cloud and services transformation, and James Baker, former EMEA director of product management have also left.

Microsoft Gold partner Cobweb was incorporated in 1996, selling Hosted Exchange, Lync and Office 365. In the year ended 30 April 2014, sales were £10m, up from £8.4m, and profit was £1.4m compared with £417,000. This is a world away from the billions Insight turns over.

It is one of a fairly select band of Microsoft resellers and services businesses to bag the tier CSP certification.

In a statement, Paul Hannam, CEO and co-founder of Cobweb Solutions, said it (like all traditional channel partners) is pushing into cloud services more aggressively and Patel will sit in this area. ®

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