Ingram CEO: “We’re still in a relationship business”

Payl Bay, CEO of Ingram Micro

LAS VEGAS — While much of the focus at this year’s Ingram Micro Global Cloud and Innovation Summit is on platforms, most notably the company’s own Xvantage digital twin and the benefits it can bring, CEO Paul Bay wants solution providers to know the company hasn’t forgotten the oft-discussed foundation of the channel.

“We’re still in a relationship business – and your relationships are the ones that power this industry,” Bay told 2,300 attendees at the conference. “Collectively, I believe we can change how technology is deployed around the world.”

Bay described the synergy between the technology-heavy “platform” and old-school “people” messages. Bay and other Ingram executives detailed their belief that enhancing Xvantage will free up solution providers’ time to focus on building their businesses and delighting their customers.

He said the industry has to transform how it delivers for its customers, focusing on driving customer experience. Ingram and solution providers “need to deliver a B2C experience in a B2B environment,” Bay said, adding that he feels Ingram’s differentiator is that it will offer “a seamless global partner experience from a single company serving so many markets.” Ingram has often talked about the need for its business to move “from transacting to interacting” with solution providers and suggested solution providers need to make the same transition.

“We are a $51 billion company that can reach 91 percent of the world’s population through all of you,” he said. “We have to take the friction out of how we do business together. And we do that by digitizing.”

That’s what the company aims to deliver with Xvantage, he said, describing the previous norm of things as routine as placing and tracking an order as unacceptable because any attempt to track an order required at least one human interaction and frequently more. He compared that to the ability of any consumer to order a pizza and track it from the oven to the delivery vehicle to the front door without getting off the couch. By making that available on demand in Xvantage, the company is freeing up time for partners’ people to do more important things — like learning new skills or selling. Likewise, Ingram’s people will be able to spend less time figuring out where their customers’ orders are and more time helping those customers with ideas to grow their business.

“You need us to be faster, more agile, more intuitive. You need relief from all those emails and phone calls. You need that B2C experience,” he said.

Ultimately, he said, the goal is for Xvantage to surface more of the data Ingram has on its customers and their customers and to use AI to optimize that data for its business impact for solution providers.

“We want to give you more ways to build and grow your business, streamline your business relationships, and give your customers what they need when they need it. We want to start to use all that data differently and let you show up differently, too,” he said.

He said that Ingram’s smartest moves have all been when it invests in front of trends, citing previous successes in cloud, lifecycle services, 5G, training and financing. Today, that investment is in customer experience, and the means for doing that is the digital platform.

“We’re putting you at the centre of everything we do. Our job is to make your job easier,” Bay said.

Robert Dutt

Robert Dutt is the founder and head blogger at He has been covering the Canadian solution provider channel community for a variety of publications and Web sites since 1997.