DALLAS — Ingram Micro’s Professional Services business has been busy at this week’s Ingram Micro One event here, rolling out a variety of new offerings, including project management-as-a-service, and a couple of different training offerings.
The addition of project management as a service came about because of partner demand, said Greg Richey, director of professional services at Ingram Micro. Under the program, Ingram makes its own project management staff available to partners needing support in that area. It’s a pay-as-you-use-it model and it’s white-labeled from a customer perspective. Richey said the biggest demand for the program has come from SMB-focused VARs that find an opportunity or two above that market, but lack the project-management skills to properly implement and support that opportunity.
“Our partners love — because you look good tot he customer, you’ve got all the answers, and you’re on track,” Richey said. “Secondly, it’s a new way to scale your business without increasing cost.”
The company also introduced a pair of new training offerings — one for resellers, one for solution providers’ customers.
The new Ingram Micro Grad Program offers entry-level training for sales staff, primarily intended as a way to help partner on-board for their sales team. The program covers introductions to topics including networking, wireless, security, servers, storage, virtualization, and cloud, available at $99 (U.S.) per course per user, or $499 (U.S.) for the whole collection.
“It’s a tool they can use as they bring employees on, so they all speak the same language. That’s critically important to partners,” Richey said.
Finally, also on the training front, the distributor introduced the ability for solution providers to market Ingram-produced technology training through the Reseller Affiliate program. Under the new program, solution providers can offer referrals to certification and other training offerings for end users produced by Ingram Micro Training. Ingram touts it as a way for solution providers to close the loop on offering training that otherwise loyal customers may be acquiring elsewhere. Involvement for resellers as a matter of signing up for the program, then adding an affiliate link or banner to their Web site to send customers to Ingram’s training portal. Members earn 10 per cent of any training purchased through their affiliate link.
“It’s available for them to have a training presence, including certifications, that they don’t already have,” said Richey.
The new services come as Ingram sees an increasing opportunity for its professional services division. Richey said that as many solution providers invest more in a hybrid business model, “they’re looking to remove expense in many cases.” That leads to the situation where distribution can step in to provide the kinds of services that solution providers still want to or need to offer, but can’t afford to staff and maintain themselves.
Distribution adds another value to the equation, said Paul Bay, Ingram’s group president for the Americas, in that it brings a vendor-neutral lens to what should be a business discussion. In many ways, it’s a reversal of the classic technology purchasing decision, whereby a solution provider brings forth a new technology that may fit a customer pain point.
“Distribution has so much relevance because it’s not about the feeds and speeds,” Bay said. “You have the business conversation, then you figure out the technology to meet that business requirement.”