Ingram Micro has launched its Xvantage “digital twin” into the Canadian market, debuting the new website, tool, and overall partner experience with a select group of partners en route to it, becoming the primary way solution providers will deal with the distributor in the future.
Announced earlier this year and launched in the U.S. and Germany last month, Xvantage officially came to Canada last week after piloting it with a a handful of top partners before that.
All new Ingram Micro customers will default to having accounts with Xvantage, said Anthony Karim, vice president of go-to-market strategy at Ingram Micro Canada. The company plans to have all customers up and running on Xvantage by the end of October.
While Xvantage will initially be most notable as the home of all of Ingram’s digital tools for partners, Ingram Micro Canada country chief executive Bill Brandel stressed Xvantage’s ability to learn based on partner type, employee role, customer data and any number of other factors to deliver a unique experience for every customer that should become more personalized over time thanks to underpinnings of machine learning.
“This is a journey, and the platform in the early days will have a lot of functionality that’s already been on the site,” Brandel said. “Out of the gates, it’s a new experience for partners. But over time, they will be able to do everything they do with Ingram Micro on this platform.”
Sanjib Sahoo, global chief digital officer for Ingram Micro, said the vision is that Xvantage will be “a single pane of glass for any touchpoint with Ingram Micro” that will evolve with new releases and refinements every two weeks, aiming to bring experiences solution providers may be used to from their consumer lives into their business lives.
“It’s a [business-to-consumer] experience for this industry, with everything you’d expected — smart recommendations, selling solutions rather than SKUs, and handling all of that complexity on the back end, so the user has a modern interface that’s simple and powerful,” Sahoo said.
Karim, who’s led the team overseeing the launch and development of Xvantage for Canada, praised the customizability of the tool for multi-country issues like currency, taxes, and languages as “like nothing I’ve seen before” and stressed that it will provide a uniquely Canadian experience from day one in Canada and that it will become more personalized over time.
“This is a self-learning platform,” Sahoo said. “The more you interact with it, the more customized it will become for your role and your business. We want to let users focus on their work and not the tool.”
Brandel said Xvantage has long roots — dating back to “the journey we’ve been on for a long time,” dating back to early investments in cloud distribution and later the purchase of cloud platform provider CloueBlue. He suggested that those investments provided the foundations that Sahoo and his newly-assembled team have built on to change the distributor’s role, which Sahoo said he sees as ultimately “a true partner enabler.”
“If we’d taken a more conservative stance [in the early days of the cloud shift], I don’t know if we’d have the foundation to get out of the gates this quickly,” Brandel said.
He gives credit to Sahoo, who joined Ingram in July 2021, for “changing the mindset of this organization, from the CEO level on down,” going from incremental improvements on tools and customer experience to the sea change that Xvantage represents. AI and ML might be heady industry buzzwords, but Brandel said they’d also lead to partners having easy access to more data on a more timely basis than ever before.
“This is about driving partner growth through technology,” he said.
As it grows in two-week increments, the distributor envisions Xvantage as the platform for more than its reseller base. It will also become a hub for how Ingram Micro associates work with both vendors and solution providers, and the site is built with layers of APIs that suggest integration with vendor systems and solution provider tools should be possible.