In the months to come, Ingram Micro will roll out Xvantage, its new online platform for working with channel partners.
The distributor says Xvantage, introduced at this year’s Cloud Summit, will be a single pane of glass for resellers to interact with the distributor, including hardware and software sales, managing customer subscriptions, accessing marketing and training resources and working with Ingram. Thanks to the heavy use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies, the goal is to go beyond what’s previously been possible with partner portals.
“It’s our digital twin, and it allows us to digitize much of what the industry does today,” said Sanjib Sahoo, Ingram’s global chief digital officer.
Sahoo said the biggest draw for many partners would be Xvantage’s self-learning recommendations engine. The site will take advantage of everything Ingram knows about the reseller, the customer, the market and the business environment to help solution providers make more sales in the short term and find a better path forward for their business in the long term.
“We’ve been in the business for 43 years, and we’re using all of that data we’ve amassed to provide unique insights for the business,” he said. “It will be like having a $54 billion company backing them up, giving them the advantage in dreaming bigger and building smarter.”
Xvantage is slated to launch early in the summer in the U.S. and Germany, with a Canadian launch likely by the end of summer, according to Sahoo.
After launch, early priorities will include integrating with Ingram’s Cloud Marketplace. The vision is for Xvantage to ultimately cover all products and services that a solution provider may purchase through or from the distributor.
“It’s not about specific product lines. It’s about a one-stop-shop for recommendations,” Sahoo said. “Over time, it will learn and give richer and richer recommendations.”
To do so, Sahoo said the Xvantage recommendation engine will ultimately bring in Ingram’s history of transaction data, market data, and everything else “we’ve learned doing [distribution] for 43 years.”
Sahoo said the distributor sees Xvantage very quickly becoming the preferred way for partners to work with the distributor, particularly as new functionality is added and the platform learns more about what solution providers seek from it. And as much as it will change how resellers deal with Ingram, Sahoo said it would also transform how Ingram works with resellers. The reseller side of the platform will help solution providers do more everyday transactions in a self-serve manner, while the Ingram side will present more data to associates in a more timely manner, even for those partners that prefer to continue to work with the distributor on the phone.
“It will help [Ingram inside sales teams to] guide better conversations, even with partners that aren’t yet connected,” Sahoo said.
But Sahoo is confident that it will rapidly become the primary way many solution providers interact with Ingram, particularly as Xvantage learns with experience.
“Our goal is to make it intuitive and easy to learn,” he said. “We’ve done a lot of homework on figuring it out and making the interface very usable.”
He noted that Ingram has “assembled a world-class digital team” with expertise in machine learning, AI, and more from hires from web giants like Amazon and Facebook over the last year.
After the launch in the U.S. in Germany and expanding into Canada in the summer, Sahoo said the goal is for the platform to become available around the world over the last half of 2022 and into the early days of 2023. He said partners could expect an iterative development approach, with new features and functionality debuting on a two-week cycle.