Big changes to come for VentureTech Network?

Ingram Micro's venerable VentureTech Network community could be soon seeing major changes, including an international expansion and maybe a new name.

The familiar VentureTech Network logo -- and even its name -- may soon be changed.

The familiar VentureTech Network logo — and even its name — may soon be changed.

With a new mission statement announced, new leadership, a new logo to come, and perhaps a new name in the works, Ingram Micro’s venerable VentureTech Network reseller group is in the midst of major changes.

At Ingram Micro’s fall One event in Las Vegas, the community was introduced to its new leadership from the distributor’s side, with longtime VTN boss John Fago handing the reins over to Jim Veraldi, senior director of advanced computing for Ingram Micro, and Jennifer Johnson, senior director of client services and Canada for Ingram’s Agency Ingram Micro marketing division. Veraldi is a familiar face to the VTN crowd, having joined Ingram from its ranks in 2012, and he becomes the first person to be on the leadership team of the reseller group both from the solution provider side and the distributor’s side.

The new leadership duo wasted no time in introducing significant changes, seeming to leave nothing off the table in reinventing the pioneering reseller group for the future. The goals for the group are lofty, and include turning the VTN brand into an industry seal of approval or trustmark that will indicate competence and confidence on the part of member solution providers. But to get the value out of doing so, VTN has to extend its reach significantly, continuing to get beyond owners and leadership of solution providers and into all members of solution provider organizations, but perhaps more importantly, becoming a name and a trustmark that is meaningful and impactful to solution providers’ customers.

The exact shape of that trustmark has yet to be determined, Johnson said, but it’s not going to take long to figure it out.

Fago said the goal may well be to create the kind of brand affinity that an internal network like 1-800-FLOWERS has created, something that stands out to customers as an indicator of standards and capabilities in the IT solution provider community.

“It’s time to evolve [the VentureTech Network brand], to make it mean more to the channel, and make it mean more to the end user as well,” Johnson said. “The next question is do we change the name and the logo? That’s not an Ingram decision, that’s a community decision.”

And one that will be taken fairly quickly at that – the company suggests that a new logo, and perhaps even a new brand, could be revealed at the spring 2015 VTN Invitational, slated to be part of the next One Ingram Micro event in Orlando. The big issues of name and logo will be tackled by the group’s leadership council of members in January, and Ingram’s Agency Ingram Micro marketing team will be ready to help prepare whatever new branding may come out of that

Veraldi, who has the unique position of having looked at VTN from both sides now, said he sees it as time for a change in part because in its genesis, VTN was largely about solving the geographic reach challenges of regional solution providers. That may still be a valid part of it, but now it’s about so much more, a community about specialization and excellence in the reseller community.

Like the new name and logo themselves will be, Johnson stressed that the decision to go in a new direction with VTN has come largely from the membership itself. “We wouldn’t have started this if we hadn’t heard from them that it’s time to evolve,” she said, with Veraldi adding that their presentation at last week’s One event marks perhaps the first time that a branding slide has received applause from a group of solution providers.

At the same time as it’s redefining itself, VTN appears poised for further international growth, perhaps to the point of becoming a truly global community. Last year saw the launch of the first VTN chapter in the UK, and Fago suggested there are opportunities to “deeper into Europe” in the near future, as well as the first Brazilian chapter of the group opening up in the next few months, although sadly likely not in time to make the next VTN Invitational “coincidental” with Carnival in Rio de Janeiro. “Everything we do here gets focused beyond North America, and we’re really starting to get some scale and visibility internationally,” Fago said.

The group will also continue to seek to drive awareness and engagement deeper into solution provider organizations, Veraldi said, continuing on a quest that over the last few years has seen the introduction of functional areas like solution provider’s HR and marketing professionals in the form of “think tank” groups within the community for those professionals.

“We’ve got the C-level trust, but getting deeper is where this community is going to evolve, and these think tanks are just getting started,” Veraldi said.

So with a new mission statement, a new name and logo to come, and potential for further expansion both internationally and within solution providers’ organizations, it certainly would appear that the only constant for VTN is change. Of course, being a community of solution providers, would one expect anything else?

“We’re not history teachers, that’s for sure,” Veraldi quipped.