Building-And Enhancing- Xvantage Is A 'Perpetual Journey'. Ingram Micro's Kirk Robinson tells CRN there's no expectation the distributor would ever say, 'OK, we're done' when it comes to adding new capabilities to the Xvantage platform.


PROFITABILITY BOOST Leveraging professional services PAGE  SINGING PRAISES Partners talk the power of trust PAGE  FAST TRACKS Speeding up customer conversations PAGE 

Building—And Enhancing— Xvantage Is A ‘Perpetual Journey’

Ingram Micro’s Kirk Robinson tells CRN there’s no expectation the distributor would ever say, ‘OK, we’re done’ when it comes to adding new capabilities to the Xvantage platform. The goal, he says, is always to make sure the focus is on helping partners grow their business. PAGE 4

Moving The Channel From Transactions To Interactions

As we close out the year and ready for 2024, here are three facts I’d like to share about Ingram Micro: First, we are putting your business, and success, at the center of our transformational strategy; second, we are proud to serve as the business partner behind the world’s technology brands; and third, we are investing ahead of the market to help you grow your business faster and do more for your customers. In today’s “as-a-service” economy, there’s never been a better time for your company to be a trusted advisor to the multitude of businesses adopting modern technology solutions. And with Ingram Micro, you have direct access to the solutions, services, relationships, and resources to profitably grow as you transform your own way of doing business. In this special issue of CRN , we’re shining a spotlight on our channel partners’ successes to show you firsthand how, together, we are elevating the B2B experience, inspiring scalable growth, and creating more value for your business and your customers. Ingram Micro Xvantage is the experience platform you need to remove the friction of doing business and enable our respective teams to interact in new and powerful ways, including real-time market insights, quotes, recommendations, and custom configurations, as well as consolidated customer billing across services, war- ranties, hardware, and software sales. We are also investing in our cloud and professional services portfolios to help you land and expand more business—locally, regionally, and internationally.

In this new era where the customer experience is everything, Ingram Micro gives you the edge you need to deliver a better experience to your team and customers.

Thank you for trusting us with your business, and here’s to even greater success—today and in the future.


Kirk Robinson EVP & President, North America Ingram Micro




Ingram Micro’s Kirk Robinson tells CRN there’s no expectation the distributor would ever say, ‘OK, we’re done’ when it comes to adding new capabilities to the Xvantage platform. The goal, he says, is always to make sure the focus is on helping partners grow their business. Building—And Enhancing— Xvantage Is A ‘Perpetual Journey’


Expanding Skill Sets Partners are leveraging the power of Ingram Micro’s professional services and then turning around and creating additional revenue— helping them become ‘profitable on day one.’

2 A Letter From Kirk Robinson



The distributor’s Hybrid Cloud Fast Tracks are designed to connect partners with experts in its Data Center and Hybrid Cloud Center of Excellence to identify new avenues of opportunity and speed up conversations with customers. New Paths To Success

Partner Success Stories A trio of solution providers talk about their trust in Ingram Micro and how the distributor stands out by standing up for their business.


Building—And Enhancing— Xvantage Platform Is A ‘Perpetual Journey’


Success Computer Consulting’s Brent Morris doesn’t think he’s ever gotten this level of involvement and interest in his company from an organization as big as Ingram Micro. “We do not produce the kind of revenue that would even register as a blip on Ingram Micro’s map,” Morris, vice president of business development at the Golden Valley, Minn.-based MSP, told CRN . “But they’re listening to us, and they’re implementing the changes that we recommend. The partnership level is different and more valuable than any other organization we’ve worked with.” Morris and his business partner Bruce Lach, president of Success Computer Consulting, were early adopters of the Irvine, Calif.-based distributor’s Xvantage platform, which launched last September. Through automation intelligence and machine learning, Xvantage aims to provide a personalized experience with data insight tailored to each Ingram Micro partner. That’s on top of the real-time transactional benefits such as up-to- the-minute order status, tracking, renewals, subscription billing and real-time customer service capabilities. The mass popularity of has people used to easy online orders that ship quickly with a clearly defined delivery time, Morris said, and that’s the type of experience Ingram Micro is now delivering to partners. “All of that stuff didn’t exist as cleanly prior to Xvantage, and now it does,” he said. “The life that I’m accustomed to

outside my job [as a consumer] is now very familiar inside my job.” Lach told CRN that it’s “almost unbelievable” how quickly the Ingram Micro team adds functionality and makes changes to the platform. “It’s refreshing to see that there are no releases, no next version and no downloads—it’s just there,” he said. “It’s so refreshing to have that as part of the experience as well.” Kirk Robinson, executive vice president and president of North America at Ingram Micro, told CRN that it’s all about being partner-focused. “We’re spending a tremendous amount of time with our partners making sure they understand Xvantage and all the functionalities that we’re bringing to them,” he said. “It’s really to help them be more efficient and effective in how they run their business and how do we enable them to grow their revenue and their profit through all the functionality we’re delivering through Xvantage.” Learning from the data inside the Xvantage platform is key to discovering what’s working, what’s not and what Ingram Micro can do to make it better, according to Robinson. “On both sides of the coin, what it’s doing for Ingram Micro is taking away the low-value work and allowing our associates to focus on high value, where that same thing is happening for our partners,” he said.




The Evolution To Become ‘A Platform Of Platforms’ Xvantage will continue to evolve and deliver more for partners to help them succeed. “I would say we’re ahead of where we thought we would be today,” Robinson said. “This is a perpetual journey because we’re constantly looking at working with the partners to make sure we’re hitting all the needs they have and hitting needs they don’t know that they need. There’s no timeline as to when we’re saying, ‘OK, we’re done.’ I would say we’re very, very pleased with where we’re at and directionally where we’re heading.” Sanjib Sahoo, executive vice president and chief digital officer at Ingram Micro, said partner and vendor feedback on the platform has been critical to its success. “We are also seeing engagement from our partners as well as vendors in how we are building capabilities,” Sahoo told CRN . “It’s not just platform success but feature development to utilization to solving business problems and engaging their business,” he said. “A year ago I said it’s a platform and ecosystem. It’s actually evolved to become a platform of platforms. There is a platform for our partners, there is a platform for our associates and there’s a platform for our vendors,” Sahoo added. Mark Essayian, president of Irvine, Calif.-based MSP KME Systems, said Ingram Micro is “truly trying to transform themselves into a platform company.” “I think the big difference here is that they’re understanding that they can’t be a website and a warehouse,” he told CRN . “Distributors are the financial arm. They make sure that I can get product and they’re stocking it—and all that is critical—but they’re really trying to save me time and trying to engage with more of my people. They’re actually trying to use technology and people so that they can be further embedded into my organization.” Like Morris, Essayian sees Ingram Micro moving to an Amazon-like model, where Xvantage is more than just a buying engine. “That’s not suggestive selling, that’s not, ‘Do you want fries with that?’” he said. “That’s, ‘You’re buying a notebook. Would you like to know about an extended warranty? Would your customer like a docking station? Here’s the right one.’ It seems [like a] little [thing], but it’s not,” he said. “I like the fact that they give us information from a marketing perspective,” Essayian added. “I think most resellers just don’t do marketing very well. So we get this information that we can look at and say, ‘I can actually do something with this.’” And the actionable insight is a key differentiator. On his personalized user interface in the Xvantage platform, Essayian can see what products are selling for his customers and what products and offerings are trending across the entire platform. “As a CEO, you want to know what’s hot,” he said. “If somebody’s selling a few thousand of these notebooks, maybe I need to introduce it to my customers,” he said. “Spend a few minutes inside of their insight because how

many times does a CEO sit down and have data at their eyes instead of their gut?”

Building Stronger Business Alignment Driving “shiny technologies is pointless” without driving business value, according to Sahoo. “Having technology built first and adoption second does not work,” he said. “[We are] plugged into the business, bringing the operational knowledge as the product is being built. As technology is maturing we’re working on aligning the business, aligning the partner feedback and driving value creation and adoption. That is a continuous agile process, which is very different than the general approach.” For Robinson, organizational alignment entails looking at how Ingram Micro is set up structurally. It’s about the skill sets and talents and making sure the distributor continues to align with its partners and vendors in a way that lets it interact with them around the platform and all the teaching it offers. “Beyond Xvantage, we realign to be [partner]-focused,” Robinson said. “It just so happens to align perfectly with what we’re delivering with the Xvantage platform. ... The reason we do it is because we want them to partner with Ingram Micro, and we’re excited about what we’re seeing and how they are partnering with us.” Also key is continuing to look at the financial options partners need to go out and close more deals. “We’re listening to their needs and getting creative in how we can find solutions for them to go win more business. We’ve been a leader in that field,” Robinson said. “It’s continuing to look at the trends in the market and how we continue to take a leadership position in helping our partners.” And when it comes to professional services, Robinson said Ingram Micro is investing more into those offerings because it is hearing from partners that they need help. “They need help with data migration and cloud migration, and that’s why we’re making the investments to help them understand and consult with them on the best way to move forward to solve those needs for their end customer,” Robinson said. “We’re always trying to look at where the puck is going,” he said. “It’s how do we make the right investments to make sure we’re ahead of the curve for our partners. We’re willing to take risks and look at building out capabilities, bringing in talent certifications and everything else needed to be there for our partners, and they rely on us for that.” The Xvantage Total Experience Is Key Ke’Airra Speigner, account manager at Lanham, Md.-based NGEN, an honoree on CRN ’s 2023 MSP 500, uses Xvantage every day as her go-to platform. “They’re always responsive, and the shipping time is the next day,” she told CRN . “I remember once my manager was out and I was trying to get some licensing completed for a client. Ingram Micro just helped me right away.” Speigner soon discovered the seamless, frictionless




“It’s not only the speed, but the speed into business around some of the automation,” he said. “What we’ve built is now helping [partners do business] in minutes. Even a 5-year-old can use it. We want to make complex things simple to make sure it’s easy, and that’s the beauty of the experience.” Partners Are Seeing The Difference A recent Xvantage win for Chris Norris, COO of Zachary, La.-based MIS Technology Group, was the ease of use he experienced when ordering Cisco Meraki products. “In the past with other vendors, getting to the process of just placing the order was several steps long and it took awhile to get a quote, get it approved and get it shipped,” he told CRN . “Now we click a button, we place the order and the pricing is already there. That’s been awesome.” Before using Xvantage, Norris had previously stepped away from the ordering process “because it just took too much time.” “I had to run the business and to have to fight through getting quotes … I had to step away,” he said. “I was used to the old way, but then when our purchasing [team] said, ‘Hey, come check this out,’ I was like, ‘Whoa.’ It was just a whole new world compared to the way things were just a year ago or even still is with some vendors.” He echoed Robinson’s comments about how Xvantage will allow a quick, easy experience “for the things that can be quick and easy.” “Then reserve the human touches for the more complicated deals that need a little bit of love to get it built,” he said. Success Computer Consulting’s Morris said it was really helpful to expose his staff to an enterprise rollout of brand-new technology that’s transforming the partner ecosystem. And speed and consolidation are everything, he said. Solution providers also described Xvantage as fast, easy, tailored and modern. “It’s focused and truly partner-centric,” Morris said. “We’re finally using a platform that is a fit for the way we operate.” Lach said he enjoys that it brings hardware, software and licensing all onto one platform in one view. “I like its speed, its quality, and it’s nonrepetitive,” he said. “When you see those things happen, you actually get people to complete jobs. I hate to say it that way but if you have to click through 20 times to find out when 20 things are shipping, you tend not to do those things.” The Future Of The Experience Throughout the rest of 2023, Ingram Micro is working on adding even more capabilities to the Xvantage platform such as quoting automation and configure-to-order features. “The recommendations and insights are there—we’re taking the feedback loops and making it crisper,” Sahoo said. “What you’ll see is more operationalizing of the capabilities and merging it with a business operation. That’s where our focus is right now.” Part of Ingram Micro’s “perpetual journey” with Xvantage

experience it offered when ordering products for customers. “One of my favorite things is how it has all my orders right there,” she said. “So if I see something that’s back-ordered or the order didn’t go through, as soon as I log in that’s the first thing I see.” And the Ingram Micro team makes the process of procuring products frictionless as well. “I love how they check in,” she said. “If we’re going back and forth too much about something through email, they’ll pick up the phone and call.” While Xvantage is a platform to transact on, Sahoo and Robinson both emphasized to CRN that what’s important to them is the total experience. “Imagine in distribution a partner on a Sunday is watching a game. They’re feeling hungry and order

‘How do you create a Netflix-like experience where partners are different but when they come to our platform

food through an app and can track when the food is coming,” Sahoo said. “The goal is how could we create a consumerization of modern experience for our partners? How do we make Monday the same as Sunday and make it a fun day for our partners?” He also likened it to TV streaming services and the personalization they offer consumers. “How do you create a Netflix-like experience where partners are different but when they come to our platform we understand, with AI and data, what they want and create a very personalized experience?” he said. “That is what we aim for,” he added. “Make it simple, easy and bring consumerization into distribution.” “We want to put our digital hat on to make sure that we can solve problems for partners’ business,” Sahoo said. “We want them to be better by understanding the platform. Be aggressively digital and amazingly human.” The experience the Ingram Micro team is trying to convey through its Xvantage platform is described as an “ease-of- use, meeting-the-needs-of-our-partners-type platform” that is efficient and automated. “It’s not just that we’re able to remove some of the low- value work, we’re removing it for them,” Robinson said. “Now they’ll be able to look at their different teams and where they’re spending their time and move their associates to more valuable work.” The self-learning platform is currently available in 14 countries and growing, according to Sahoo. we understand, with AI and data, what they want and create a very personalized experience?’ – Sanjib Sahoo, EVP, Chief Digital Officer, Ingram Micro



Tech is needed by everyone. Our reach extends to almost 90% of everyone.

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Distributing Scale

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also involves continuing to educate partners, looking at where the complexities within the platform lie and continuing to build in the features they need, according to Robinson. “How do they transact? Where can we take that friction

out? How do we get the automation and efficiency?” he said. “It’s really working with them on how we can help them grow their business. The Xvantage platform is giving us the ability to work with our partners and move from transacting to interacting at the end of the day.”

Kirk Robinson On Where Xvantage Is Headed Next

The Xvantage platform is all about being partner-focused, said Kirk Robinson, executive vice president and president of North America at Ingram Micro. As partners’ needs evolve, so will the platform. But the job is never done. Here’s what Robinson said about how far the platform has come, how it continues to act as a learning tool and where the platform is going next.

Xvantage was launched a year ago. Where did you want it to be today, and do you think you’ve accomplished that? I would say we’re ahead of where we thought we would be today. This is a perpetual journey because we’re constantly looking at working with the partners to make sure we’re hitting all the needs they have and hitting needs they don’t know that they need. There’s no timeline as to when we’re saying, ‘OK, we’re done.’ I would say we’re very, very pleased with where we’re at and directionally where we’re heading. How is Ingram Micro ahead of its Xvantage timeline, and where is it going next? When we looked at what the functionality of a platform is and how we would work with our partners by bringing them an experience and looking at how our partners do business, we looked at all the things that we were doing before and how a platform enables us to do it in a more efficient manner. There’s a lot to that statement because in our industry that business is very complex. When customers are ordering, there are so many vendors who all have programs and special pricing. It can go on and on in regards to how we work with our partners to help them procure IT solutions, including financial needs beyond just credit limits. So building all of that into the platform is happening quicker than we thought due to Sanjib [Sahoo, executive vice president and chief digital officer] and team. Then it’s really how do we make sure we keep pace with educating our

partners so they’re aware of the functionalities that are coming out.

How is Xvantage contributing to the overall experience? The way I view that is it’s taking our partners and our vendors to an experience, [and our services play a big part.] In the services area we hired [Vice President of Services] Paul Hager. Paul was a partner of ours and built and sold a couple of MSPs. To have him on our staff running all of our services is incredibly helpful to give us the visibility on the life of a partner and what their needs are. That allows him now to stay connected with our partners in the services area. How do you get the learning aspect across? Part of the digital transformation is educating the Ingram Micro team on all the functionalities and capabilities of the platform so that they can then go work with their partners. And we get feedback. I get feedback every week from the team on what the partners are saying, and it comes to me in positive, neutral and sometimes negative [terms]. That education, we knew, was built into the plan. It’s a very intuitive platform. Most of our partners can go in there and navigate the platform on their own, but we want to make sure we assist them and make sure they understand the functionalities, and that’s really the key. It’s the ability for us to take that complexity out, [which] gives the partners more automation and more efficiency. 



A platform that reduces hours to minutes.

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Distributing Efficiency

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Ingram Micro: Professional Services Make Partners ‘Profitable On Day One’ BY CJ FAIRFIELD

MIS Technology Group’s Chris Norris ran into a resource issue with a project his company was working on for a school system. “One of our clients is a school system that’s remote, so all kids are spread throughout the state. They were doing testing in many locations all across the state on one day, and it was essentially impossible to send just one person there,” said Norris, COO of the Zachary, La.-based solution provider. “If that went poorly, then our relationship would start to turn sour pretty quickly.” But by leveraging Ingram Micro professional services, he was able to contract out local companies to be on-site at the various locations, enabling MIS Technology Group to get the job done. “That was the first year of that contract, and things had to go really well,” he said. “After that they said, ‘You guys have it handled.’ They felt really comfortable with how we were able to ensure their success in testing.” Irvine, Calif.-based distributor Ingram Micro’s professional services can serve as an extension of partners’ businesses to help them with the projects they are working on. Some of the professional services Ingram Micro offers include managed services, maintenance services, consultancy, automation services, and training that provides insight, expertise and tools. But one of the most popular offerings partners are tapping into is cybersecurity services, which include penetration testing, vulnerability scanning, compliance and assessments by ethical hackers, and Certified Information Systems Security Professionals (CISSPs) to help with audits. “Ingram Micro has a very unique position of trust when you think about it in [terms of] how we deliver a service like that,” Paul Hager, vice president of services at Ingram Micro, told CRN . “You can’t have a partner who is doing the security also be the auditor of the security. If it wasn’t for Ingram Micro, [the partner tends] to have to pick a competing partner, invite them into their account and go do that audit work,” he said. “Not only is Ingram Micro really well-certified in this area, we have ethical hackers, we’re CISSPs and we check a lot of those important boxes,” he added. “We meet with our partners—and we never change the results—but we do give them a preview to be able to have a perspective.” Another popular offering—and where the distributor is

seeing a lot of adoption—is around hybrid cloud services in which Ingram Micro helps partners build their technical capability to deliver cloud services or delivers those services for them. And Ingram Micro often jointly delivers the content to the customer, which Hager said can be attributed to the level of trust between the distributor and the solution provider. It can use internal staff members who are trained in working with hyperscalers “to teach them how to fish” and help build their technical capabilities or it can deliver the services on behalf of the partner, either temporarily or on an ongoing basis. “We’re in a unique position in the market,” Hager said. “We have already made investments in a lot of technical staff at a time where getting access to technical talent is difficult. Let us be a place in the channel where we stash some of that knowledge that you can then leverage. When you’re having to make business decisions, you can choose to use our platform of people versus maybe having to hire an individual that’s only going to be 20 percent utilized.” And whenever Ingram Micro is delivering new services, its partners are turning around and creating additional revenue. “They’re profitable on day one,” Hager said. “They didn’t have to go make the investment and stand up all the tools and all the people.” Andrew Walsh, vice president of operations at Syosset, N.Y.- based Allied System Integrators, has been harnessing Ingram Micro’s professional services, mainly its security professional service, for about five years to supplement his company’s existing skill set. Ingram Micro’s name in the industry, trust and global reach is why he chose to further partner with the distributor on additional services. “We also needed to have a delineation between us as the partner that’s performing the work and the entity that’s performing the assessment of the work that we’ve done,” he told CRN . This allows Allied System Integrators to capture both ends of the business. “It’s definitely added a significant amount of business revenue to our bottom line, but also enabled us to really expand our skill set,” he said. “By leveraging professional services and a team that we don’t have, it’s an extension of our own team, and we can capture a lot more business that way. They are just ready to join your army and go to war for you.” 

Paul Hager VP, Services, Ingram Micro



1,500 tech companies trust us with their brands.

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Distributing Success

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The Distributor Stands Out By Standing Up To Help Them Any Way It Can


Executives from KME Systems, Applied Tech and M&N Communications all agree that what sets Ingram Micro apart is the team by their side and the resources they can leverage. For these three solution providers, what makes Ingram Micro stand out is its team of people who care and want to see their businesses grow. Whether the partner is a Trust X Alliance member who can leverage a pool of more than 350 peers or one simply ordering hardware through Ingram Micro’s Xvantage portal, these solution providers know they can tap into Ingram Micro’s team, and its resources, if they ever run into an issue. From quarterly meet-ups with Ingram Micro executives or a simple follow-up call from an account manager, it is showing partners that it is reachable by any means, no matter how big or small the partner, to help them operate their business more efficiently. Level Of Engagement A Market Differentiator As a Trust X Alliance partner, Mark Essayian, president of KME Systems, an Irvine, Calif.-based MSP, has met many other partners in the community and through Ingram Micro.

Trust X Alliance is a global network of more than 350 IT professionals who connect and collaborate to solve problems they each face in their business. The latest collaboration initiative is through “Thyme Zones,” where Trust X partners meet up in different time zones to have dinner. Essayian recalled one of these meetings in particular. “All of a sudden Kirk Robinson [executive vice president and vice president of North America] shows up, and Paul Hager [vice president of services] and Jennifer Anaya

Mark Essayian President, KME Systems

[senior vice president of global marketing] show up and they say, ‘Hey, we just want to talk with you,’” Essayian said. “And there was no agenda.” The executives wanted to discuss the distributor’s goals and where they were headed. That’s it. “I like that level of engagement,” Essayian said. “If you’re a partner and you’re stepping up and engaging and becoming a business partner with Ingram Micro, they are truly doing their best to become a business partner of ours.”



that talent, tap into that leadership and expertise, which just expands our ability to deliver better services to our customer base.” And what drew him to Ingram Micro in the first place was just that—the ecosystem and the people. “They care,” he said. “I know if we’re having trouble with anything in our business, I can reach out to someone at Ingram Micro and get help. It doesn’t matter what the issue is, what the need is, when or where, I know I can depend on Ingram Micro and their people. They continue to check that box.” Whether it be a Microsoft issue or tapping into more of Ingram Micro’s security offerings through its marketplace, “they’re helping us stay ahead of our competition.” “They’re always forward-thinking, and they listen,” he said.

The fact that the team at Ingram Micro comes to the table and shares that they’re not perfect but that they’re always working to better themselves is what impresses Essayian. “They help you throw people at the problem if people are the issue, and they throw technology at the problem when technology is the issue,” he said. Ingram Micro is developing an experience for everyone inside and outside the company so they can use and live inside the Xvantage platform. And the team cares about customer feedback. “They’re asking, ‘Do you like the experience? Do you like how it feels?’” he said. “I can’t believe how focused Sanjib [Sahoo, executive vice president and chief digital officer] is on, ‘If you don’t like how this works, how this looks and how this feels then you won’t use it.’ It’s uncommon for me to hear from a vendor, ‘What do you really need to make our job mutually better together?’”

Xvantage Insight: Asking—And Answering—The Right Questions

The ease of navigating the cloud marketplace, marking up products to turn a profit and helping Melvin Williams’ business grow is why he remains an Ingram Micro partner. “It’s allowing us to have Hardware as a Service as one of our product lines, and it’s also allowing us to have a bunch of servers at our access at any point in time,” Williams, CEO of Blue Bell, Pa.-based M&N Communications, told CRN . “We just have to go into the portal, purchase it and get it out to us, and our delivery is

The Power Of Ingram Micro’s Certified Engineers

It’s one thing to be one of the largest distributors in the world and have a multitude of vendors on its line card, but for David DeCamillis, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Madison, Wis.-based Applied Tech, it’s the people. “They have so many certified technicians and engineers that are actually certified directly with the vendors like Microsoft, Dell and all the way down the list,” he told CRN . “You have access to the experts when you’re in need, whether it’s to gather a quote

Melvin Williams CEO, M&N Communications

David DeCamillis SVP, Sales, Marketing, Applied Tech

really good too, as well as if we have any problems. I’ve had a really good experience with them as far as getting credit and getting things taken care of on the back end.” But it’s not just about product delivery. Williams taps into Ingram Micro’s team to help him stand out from the competition. They ask him where he’s looking to take his company and what products can complement those in his portfolio so that he can show his customers different types of solutions. “They asked me, ‘What are you trying to accomplish? Where are you looking to take your business? How are you looking to do Hardware as a Service? What exactly are you looking to do?’” he said. The team at Ingram Micro was then able to demonstrate the value of the hardware marketplace. “Our general conversations have been about what goals are we looking to accomplish and how they can steer us in that direction,” he said. He also has high praise for the Xvantage portal and said he appreciates the data insight on products he should be buying that he didn’t even consider. “As soon as you log into the portal, there’s a recommendation on what’s going on, what you might purchase,” he said. “I’m definitely getting more suggestions on what I should be buying.” 

to doing a presentation, scoping a project, engineering it and deploying it. You can actually start an MSP, not have any other employees and have Ingram Micro do the whole thing.” And that’s possible no matter where a solution provider’s business is located. “To be able to tap into that talent no matter where you are and deliver from a professional team is amazing,” he said. Also a Trust X Alliance member, DeCamillis likes that his company has a breadth of knowledge he can capture through peers in Trust X that he knows he can rely on. “We have direct access to all the decision-makers and leaders from these 300-plus MSPs,” he said. “If I need a SharePoint architect or a Salesforce engineer, there’s boots on the ground in Kansas City the same day. I can just use the website and go right to the partner and they will immediately respond and help us out.” The Trust X group does monthly calls and meets quarterly to share best practices, business ideas, plans for salespeople, marketing campaigns and more. “It’s basically an extension of us,” he said. “It makes us a larger and better company because now I can tap into



Hybrid Cloud Fast Tracks Put Partners On The Road To Success BY CJ FAIRFIELD

Ingram Micro knows that solution providers often have difficulty finding the information they need and are looking for a one-stop shop. Enter the distributor’s Data Center and Hybrid Cloud Center of Excellence. Ingram Micro launched its Data Center and Hybrid Cloud Center of Excellence in 2022 through a collaboration of subject-matter experts designed to support solution providers in their journeys to expand and strengthen their data center and hybrid cloud practices. It’s a central location for partners to be able to gather information around thought leadership, strategy-building with Ingram Micro’s technology consultants and general services practices. “It gives an incentive to them and to their sellers to be able to really drive new technology trend conversations with their end users so that they don’t leave money on the table,” Cheryl Rang, executive director of Advanced Solutions for Ingram Micro, told CRN . Meanwhile, the Ingram Micro Advanced Solutions Integration Lab, which launched in August, is a controlled environment where partners can explore, configure and test multivendor stacks to show how they work together to build an ideal solution. The lab allows partners to see demonstrations, train their sales and technical teams and illustrate proofs of concept to end users. And to boost partners’ ability to build these ideal solutions, the Center of Excellence team in August launched a series of hybrid cloud partner Fast Tracks, which are partner enablement programs designed to connect solution providers with experts in the Data Center and Hybrid Cloud Center of Excellence. Together, they will identify opportunities with a focus on different categories such as hybrid and multi-cloud solutions, digital workspace and application modernization. “We did a lot of research before we launched this,” Rang said. “We really wanted to make sure that we weren’t building and just assuming that was what was going to be important to partners. The three that we started with—application modernization, digital workspace and multi-cloud solutions—were ones that we continuously hear partners talk about.”

Ke’Airra Speigner, account manager at Lanham, Md.- based NGEN, an honoree on CRN ’s 2023 MSP 500, had a chance to review and go through a few of the modules in August and believes her team will benefit from the hybrid cloud solutions as well as the digital workspace and the application modernization solutions. “How I want to introduce it to my team is with the hybrid cloud solution because we have a lot of clients that want to do cloud migrations,” she told CRN . “We do have a team of experts, but the client interest is growing and we need more people.” As NGEN’s internal engineers are out in the field they can use these modules to train customers in the cloud, she said. “They’re very easy to use,” she said. “They’re user-friendly, and I like how the modules start from the very beginning breaking down what the cloud is. It’s very thorough, which I appreciate.” Partners receive five steps of enablement throughout each track and then graduate with a badge they can then use as points for either free services or giveaways. Vendors also are getting involved in the Fast Tracks, as a hybrid cloud solution typically involves six or more manufacturers, according to Rang. “What we’ve really been focused on with the partners is if you’re only going in there with one [vendor], then you’re leaving five on the table, and someone else is going to come in and sell those five other vendor solutions,” she said. “If you know how to have that conversation with your customers, then you can bring Ingram Micro in to help you do the services behind it and work closely with our services division on how we go out and implement those solutions.” There’s an educational aspect to it as well as enablement and a virtualization lab. Partners can even test and play with the technology and services before they deploy them and bring them into their solutions stack. “It creates that life-cycle view for an easy access, easy- to-use and easy-to-maneuver partner point of view,” she said. “Our goal really is to say, ‘You can have a broader conversation, and here’s how you get started.’” 

Cheryl Rang Executive Director,

Advanced Solutions, Ingram Micro



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