Ingram Micro Canada beefs up networking, DC/POS with new vendor partnerships

Ingram Micro Canada GM Mark Snider (left) and Dave Mason (right).


Ingram Micro Canada’s two latest vendor partnerships provide some support on high-growth opportunities for the channel, the distributor’s executives say. 

Ingram has added data capture/point of sale vendor Intermec to its linecard, and expanded its distribution deal with Avaya, giving Ingram Canada boss Mark Snider and sale chief Dave Mason cause for celebration at the recent VentureTech Network Invitational in San Francisco. (Disclosure: attended the 2010 Fall VentureTech Network Invitational in San Francisco as a guest of Ingram Micro Canada.) 

Here’s a look at the thinking behind Ingram Micro Canada’s two latest vendor partners, as well some insights on a variety of other hot-button topics in the channel. 

The Intermec partnership is a big deal for the distributor, Mason said, because of the size and scale of the vendor in its particular arena. It’s instant credibility in the DC/POS space for the distie. 

“Intermec specifically puts us right into the tier-one category of DC/POS distributors,” he said. “Partners can come to Ingram and get the products they need across that space, and that’s big for us.” 

Snider reported that while there’s opportunity for DC/POS to spread across the channel – particularly with ideas like linkages to RFID and digital signage driving new opportunities – thus far the DC/POS channel remains a pretty small and specialized community. “It’s a smaller part of the business than we’d have liked,” Mason admitted. 

The Avaya side is an expansion of an existing distribution deal that will give Ingram Canada access to the company’s full array of solutions, including the recently announced video lineup. Previously, the distributor had worked with Avaya on the legacy Nortel data side of the business, a relatively small part of the overall picture, and in Mason’s estimation, rounds out the distributor’s voice story. “[Unified communications] is still a big play in the marketplace for us,” he said. “They’ve got the technology, the acquisition is behind them, and we’re very excited by what they can do in 2011. 

(Expect much more on Avaya’s plans for next year here on next week, as we’ll be on-site at the company’s Americas Partner Conference in Las Vegas October 19 and 20.) 

Snider said that Ingram Micro Canada is hiring three customer-facing technical specialists to support the expanded Avaya business and to provide assistance and education to current and prospective Avaya partners. “Avaya requires a higher level of technical expertise,” he said. “Our goal is to educate resellers on how to sell as well as how to implement.” 

As is often the case when sits down with channel leaders to discuss… well… anything, the conversation with Messrs. Snider and Mason was hardly neatly confined to the topics of Intermec and Avaya. Here are some other notes from our chat: 

  • Mobility is a growing opportunity, but is slower to grow in Canada because of the carrier-centric model. The channel in Canada has been slower than it has in the U.S. to get involved with carriers around recurring revenue opportunities around 3G-embedded notebooks and USB sticks, Mason noted.
  • Ingram Micro Canada has recently onboarded two people to look out for the cloud opportunity, but Snider says the cloud is “still very fragmented” and while there’s a lot of interest, it’s still not representing a huge revenue stream for much of the company’s partner base.
  • Snider is excited about the prospects for the RIM PlayBook in the channel, marrying the hot topic of tablet computing with the corporate IT thumbs up that traditionally accompanies most products and technologies to come from Canada’s tech darling out of Waterloo. If RIM can get the corporate and channel plays right for the PlayBook, could it become a hot channel product, and perhaps offer a higher-margin (and sexier) alternative to bargain-basement netbooks. “If they can figure out the right balance, netbooks won’t be a big force in the market going forward,” Mason said of RIM’s nascent tablet play.
  • Snider and Mason both feel the fear of the cloud is receding in the channel. “People are embracing it and understanding it’s coming,” Snider said. But still, the wise are treading carefully: “You’re seeing lots of posturing to figure out how to play [the cloud] into their businesses,” Mason said. “Wen it becomes a little more real, the VARs will be there as soon as it starts taking off.”