OK, I do love double meanings….
In this case, it came in the form of Hurricane Nicole, which hit Florida during the recent Ingram Micro ONE event in Orlando, where solution providers, vendors, and industry leaders, either in-person at the Gaylord Palms Resort, or virtually, explored what's next in technology, and how Ingram Micro is transforming to better support the complex ecosystem of IT vendors, IT partners, and their joint customers.
At Ingram, I saw other gusts of change in the partnering world: the next generation of multi-tier solution delivery unfolding. The attendees, a group of partner leaders spent three days learning how Ingram Micro can help them to build their business better, grow their tech practice faster, and do more for those customers. Oh yeah – and make more money along the way.
A little about Nicole:
While not as destructive as Hurricane Ian, which devastated Florida’s west coast in September, it still destroyed several homes on the east coast and shut down Orlando airports and all the theme parks for a couple of days. Travel plans were scrapped for many, and I joined the group of hardy souls that rode out the storm at the Gaylord while the Ingram Micro team went out of their way to reward that determination.
Back to the Winds of Change Analogy - My key takeaways from the event
- I liked the vision and how it was clearly communicated
While acknowledging that customer expectations are changing … fast … and the challenges inherent in helping those customers transform, Kirk Robinson, Ingram Micro’s executive vice president and president of North America reiterated the goal of becoming CX (Customer Experience) focused by asking the question: How do we, together, best serve our joint customers?
The answer lies in reducing complexity and smoothing processes supported by tech investments that reduce friction in the supply chain. Ingram Micro strives to achieve this through a combination of data-led activities and information to drive recurring revenue streams and new consumption models.
Not just a wish, Ingram Micro has a multi-year plan to achieve these goals, all supported by their board and investors. All this is good stuff for partners that rely on Ingram to drive their business.
- Xvantage is an ambitious vehicle for ecosystem transformation
Ingram is on a path to create a platform that incorporates advanced AI and ML with a simple goal… taking the complexity out of business transactions. This will give downstream partners a competitive advantage that starts with a personalized experience to identify, configure, and quote solutions on their own, and extend all the way to providing real-time order status and renewal tracking to support their customer service goals.
Partners we talk to have clearly identified operational efficiency as one of their top focus areas, particularly important in today’s subscription-based world where every solution provider must maintain visibility and support to ensure renewals and extensions to their recurring revenue pipeline. Ingram should be applauded for investing more than a year in developing a true digital experience platform that will continue to improve and provide the data insights partners need.
- Financial Solutions Expand to Support Partner Transformation
It’s no surprise that Ingram Micro has found that its partners that leverage their financial solutions enjoy 25% higher growth than those that go it on their own. Partners need help to make the transition to a recurring, services-led strategy, and Ingram Micro financing solutions programs provide the working capital to support a managed-services transition. Partners can now present attractive quote options to satisfy their client’s shift from CapEx to OpEx-based IT, plus add Ingram IT Asset Disposition and Lifecycle services as part of a data center modernization campaign.
By doing this, partners support their clients’ strategic goals and expand their product and services sales while accelerating their own cash flow. Providing mid-size partners with access to capital on similar terms as larger competitors is a game-changer for business owners, and creative leaders are utilizing this increased financial firepower to increase growth through building new practice areas both organically and via acquisition.
The Bigger Truth – Tomorrow’s Distribution On the Horizon
So yes, there were lots of ideas blowing in the wind at the Ingram One conference. Many that will define the ideal future – how partners can leverage Ingram’s platform and foundations for improving efficiency in the supply chain, providing the data and expertise that drives partner recurring revenue streams, addresses customer-led consumption models, and enables a sustainable approach as well.
As the sun came out again, it was easy to see that platform, automation, and tool enhancements by Ingram Micro will enable forward-looking partners to improve their targeted marketing and sales efforts, to diversify to address new/changing buyers and industries, and to focus on creating more ongoing value for both their customers and their own businesses. Check out a few highlights here: