Ingram Micro reworks cloud business unit to make strategy more systematic

Ingram Micro was the first broadline distributor to make a big push into the cloud. Now, as the cloud opportunity expands, it is fine tuning how it makes that push.

AUSTIN — Ingram Micro has been nudging its partners to get more systematic and less opportunistic about its channel strategy. It is also doing the same thing itself, restructuring its cloud business unit to make it more consistent and systematic, and adding additional resources to do the job.

“There are multiple pieces to this announcement,” said Jason Bystrak, Ingram Micro’s Executive Director, Technology Partner Enablement, who spoke to ChannelBuzz at the CompTIA ChannelCon event here. Bystrak’s new role – he previously ran North American sales for the cloud unit – is part of the changes. The role is a new one, intended to bring more focus to cloud strategy.

“We are trying to build a framework around how we support our vendors,” he added. “Smaller ISVs and large scale partners have different needs. We will come up with an onboarding process that is more systematic. To date, it has been pretty much ‘one size fits all.’”

Bystrak said that while Ingram Micro has had a strategy for cloud vendor recruitment before now, it has been pretty much ad hoc and driven by the go-to-market teams.

“We had a vendor team before, but it was small and basically reactive,” he said. “We will build a bigger team and be more systematic about recruiting the right vendor partners. We are planning to get much deeper in the vendor process around the go-to-market. We will also take what we have been doing in the regions and standardize it more globally.”

Onboarding and recruitment will be enhanced as well.

“That is something that has had its ebbs and flows,” Bystrak said. “We will consolidate that. We are seeing a lot more cloud vendors, but we need to do a better job of selecting and recruiting the best ones.”

Other key parts of the new strategy will be relying on significant new hires from Ingram Micro competitors.

“Richard Dufty is coming on board from AppDirect to lead the global platform sales organization, the same job he did there,” Bystrak said. “This will improve the sale of cloud platforms to scale partners – large telcos, larger hosters, DMRs and even large businesses.”

Dufty’s job will include bringing more order to the platforms strategy.

“We have acquired a number of different platforms, but they still tend to run in siloes,” Bystrak said. “Richard will bring all of those together.”

The other new hire is Tim FitzGerald, who spent 28 years at Avnet and then a brief sojourn at Tech Data after they acquired Avnet’s channel business. FitzGerald moves into Bystrak’s old role as head of North American sales.

“We are also building out a verticals team,” Bystrak said. “They will find the right ISVs to bring things together and verticalize them. We haven’t done a great job of making the verticals focus clear to partners.”

All of this, Bystrak emphasized, will greatly improve Ingram Micro’s ability to forge a strong cloud ecosystem.

“Our key vendors like Microsoft and Amazon Web Services want ISVs that attach to them and are building out marketplaces to do that,” he said. “We are saying we can do that for them.”