Ingram’s Snider: Dell deal is a needle-mover

Ingram Micro Canada chief Mark Snider hails Dell's return to the distributor as a significant development for Ingram and the channel alike.

Ingram Micro Canada general manager Mark Snider

Ingram Micro Canada general manager Mark Snider

It’s a lot different this time around.

When Dell engaged Ingram Micro Canada as a distributor near the beginning of its PartnerDirect channel program effort, it was a limited effort centered around a few SMB-focused products, mostly in its Vostro line of PCs. But a renewed focus on distribution at Dell, and a renewed pact with the distributor has Ingram Micro Canada boss Mark Snider saying that this time, Dell is set to be an impact player on the distribution scene.

“Before, it was select products, now it’s total commitment to the channel and to moving the business over there,” Snider said. “Before, it was opportunistic. Now it’s down to a change in their channel philosophy.”

The deal between the two, which ramped up throughout the second quarter of the year and began to make its mark over the summer, sees Ingram stock much of the vendor’s hardware, including PCs, servers, and storage. That distinguishes it from the recently announced distribution deal between Dell and Tech Data Canada, which is today focused mostly around PCs and displays, with a “stay tuned” note attached for Dell’s enterprise hardware in the future.

Snider said the new agreement can trace its origins back further, to last year’s fall VentureTech Network Invitational, when Dell channel executive (and now distribution point man) Frank Vitagliano took to the stage and told attendees that the former direct-dealer was coming back to distribution in general, and to Ingram Micro in specific. While Ingram Micro Canada has stocked a select few Dell products in the interim, largely those under brands that were in distribution prior to their acquisition by Dell, access to the full lineup certainly broadens Dell’s horizons when it comes to reaching more of the SMB customer base largely represented by the smaller solution providers with which Ingram works closely. Dell also has potential for access to the company’s communities, VTN and SMB Alliance, to help build out its SMB channel presence.

With channel veteran (and VTN legend) Vitagliano helming the efforts, Snider said Dell clearly “gets” all that distribution brings to the table much more than it did the previous time around.

“They understand the advantages in terms of lead time, next-day delivery, finance, our ability to do configured products from our distribution centres in Mississauga and Richmond,” Snider said.

David Mason, vice president of sales at Ingram Micro Canada, said Dell has changed a lot from those early days of PartnerDirect, noting the company as a whole is “much more channel-centric than they were before.”

While much attention has been paid, and much ink spilled, on the return of Dell to distribution, and its full embrace of the move, it is significant both as a further indication of how far Dell has come in its channel trek, and for the rarity of a vendor of Dell’s size dipping its toes into the water of distribution.

“It’s a top-tier vendor that’s coming through the channel to distribution, it’s serious about it, and it’s pretty significant,” Snider said.