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Ingram Micro – FESTIVAL OF TECHNOLOGY

Ingram Micro encourages resellers to explore new technology areas at its first ever Festival of Technology

• New LED Division
• New UCC Vendors
• New Channel Financing Solutions
• New Marketing Subscription Service

On October 18, Ingram Micro broke with its tradition of holding niche specialist events and launched its first Festival of Technology at the Fairmont Windsor Park Hotel.

The event gave Ingram Micro Speciality Solutions the opportunity to showcase its four technology divisions – data capture, point of sale (POS), audio-visual & physical security, and unified communications – plus associated services like Ingram Micro Financial Solutions and Comms-care in an environment that could accommodate a large number of attendees while still providing opportunities for personal, face- to-face interaction.

Raj Pandya, Commercial Director of Speciality Solutions, Ingram Micro UK & Ireland

Raj Pandya, Commercial Director of Speciality Solutions, Ingram Micro UK & Ireland, told Technology Reseller that this balance was necessary to meet the needs of its invited audience of specialist partners and more generalist IT resellers.

“Five or six years ago, Speciality Solutions was formed from an amalgamation of four very different business units, all very bespoke in what they do and all requiring significant technical ability. What we quickly worked out was that the end user is utilising all four of those technologies, but they’re buying them from four different sources – the AV is being bought from an AV integrator, the point of sale (POS) is being bought through a POS integrator and so on.

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“We wanted to get resellers, integrators and service providers from different technology areas together in one location to promote all of our technologies, to let them know that they could be missing out on opportunities in other areas just because they feel they don’t have the necessary specialism and, above all, to point out that they don’t have to be a specialist, because Ingram Micro is.

“We have expansive knowledge and capabilities in these areas, including technical pre-sales expertise, a service capability and the technical knowledge in all four areas to be able to take some of that pressure away from our partners.”

In this context, the Festival of Technology also gave Ingram Micro the opportunity to introduce Ingram Micro IoT, which helps resellers get started in IoT for logistics, retail, industry, smart cities and agriculture by providing a marketplace of pre-vetted solutions supported by services including solution design, implementation and training.

Pandya adds that feedback on the day and in surveys since suggests that the combination of an engaging seminar programme and vendor exhibition was highly successful in meeting Speciality Solutions’ main objective.

“A big positive for us at this event was that a lot of POS and data capture people started to talk to us about video security, because a huge amount of what they do is in warehouse and logistics and of course you need CCTV in those locations. They realised they’re missing a trick, and we’ve now got a lot of follow-up with those guys around getting them trained up to be able to specify that solution.

Broadcaster and ‘first generation geek’ Jason Bradbury

“We had our specialist resellers there and we also had a lot of resellers in that small to medium business environment – what we call generalists. I would say at least 30% of the attendance was from that space. From the conversations I had with them, it is clear they are looking at new avenues around their margin stack. And our four technology areas – data capture, point of sale, audio-visual and physical security, and unified communications – sit at the higher end of margin availability.”

The fact that 82% of visitors who registered in the morning were still at the event when broadcaster and ‘first generation geek’ Jason Bradbury gave the concluding keynote at 4.30 p.m. is testament to channel partners’ appetite to learn more about technologies in adjacent areas.

New LED division

To meet this demand Ingram Micro has been continuing to expand its own offering through new vendor partnerships within its UCC portfolio and the establishment of a new LED division.

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“We’ve always been very, very strong in the interactive technology space where we do a huge amount of work with our education resellers and corporate resellers. Our IT resellers were getting more and more interested in LED, especially in relation to total cost of ownership (TCO), so in Q4 2021 we started discussions with vendors such as Leyard, ViewSonic and Optoma that have flexible, mobile LED solutions that can be moved from room to room.

“ViewSonic and Optoma have been partners of ours for a long, long time. However, we didn’t have LED within those contracts because with that technology you have to demonstrate to a vendor that you can add the value they need. It isn’t a line listed sale in any shape or form; you have to understand exactly what the reseller is looking for and be able to install that solution and potentially maintain and manage it as well.”

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Ingram Micro now has three people in its 14-strong AV team devoted to LED – a business development manager, a product manager and an internal salesperson. It has a demo area within its building where customers can come and see a best- in-class LED solution; it is working with specialist resellers to develop that value- add proposal and provide a sales pipeline; and it is producing a range of marketing material to assist resellers.

“We’re working on some white papers highlighting the TCO aspect. Hopefully, when those are finalised you’ll be able to see that there’s a significant saving in the total cost of ownership of LED versus LCD.”

Pandya points out that Ingram Micro is also developing new financial solutions specifically for LED displays.

“What’s very clear is nobody wants to own this technology; it is far too expensive and depreciation needs to be factored in. So to offer a smarter way of delivering this technology we’re working with Ingram Micro Financial Solutions to put together three and five-year plans, where, after the fifth year, the customer sends the display back and gets new technology. That’s the focus for us right now.”

New UCC vendors

Another big focus for Ingram Micro highlighted at Festival of Technology is the ongoing expansion of its UCC portfolio with the addition of four new vendors this year – Mersive, EPOS, Lenovo and HP.

“We plan to have our good, better, best strategy across our four solutions pillars set – voice, video, platform and service – unless of course some revolutionary new unified comms technology comes out that everybody wants.”

He says that the expansion of Ingram Micro’s UCC portfolio will enable it to address three main areas where there is either strong growth or strong growth potential.

“The first one is obviously that hybrid working/work anywhere model, which we have some specific solutions for. We are also putting a lot of time and effort into making sure we’ve got the right solutions in the meeting room space because the organisations we talk to and the resellers we talk to are still very much of the view that the office continues to have a role to play.

“Then, we are still seeing investment being made in those locations to make them more worker-friendly, with huddle rooms rather than a closed door, a table and eight chairs and a strong focus on collaboration. We’re working very closely with our reseller partners to give them that type of technology through partners like Logitech, Poly and Jabra.

“The third element is the platform side, with the likes of Microsoft, RingCentral, 8×8 and BlueJeans. Ingram Micro has been pioneering cloud solutions for the last three years through a dedicated business unit, but the IT channel has been a little slow in getting involved in that recurring revenue, SaaS model. We’re working more closely with them to go in at an earlier stage to try and understand how the platform works and how customers are using those solutions.”

Service value-add

He adds that on the UCC side a big selling point for vendors and reseller partners is Comms-care, a provider of IT support and service solutions that became an Ingram Micro company in 2016 and which adds to the overall value of a solution.

“Every year we plot out our strategy, and what we really want to achieve in each business unit is the value add of the solution we can offer. On the UCC side, this comes from integration with our existing meeting room solutions and the ability of our Comms-care business to deploy, manage and maintain those solutions.

“For example, we launched HP officially this month, but we’ve been working with them for the last 12 months around how we were going to integrate their meeting room solutions and be able to manage them through Comms-care.”

For resellers, this is just another way in which Ingram Micro makes it easier for resellers to develop new business opportunities, which, as Pandya explains, was what the Festival of Technology was all about.

“Most of the customers I spoke to during the day said their core reason for attending was to try to understand technologies they’re not very familiar with and to find out how they can add new products to their portfolio even if they are not specialists in a particular area. Customers were saying ‘we get a lot of CCTV inquiries that we turn away because we can’t do the installations or we don’t know enough about how to specify a camera’.

“That was the whole point of the event. Because we do that every day, that’s the value that Ingram Micro gives resellers that don’t yet have the skills or headcount to do it themselves.”

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Vendor testimonials

Poly

It was a great day. We had lots of engaging conversations with resellers and it gave us a chance to update people on new product solutions and network with the channel. Events like these are super important as they help us drive our key messages through the channel and network with key contacts.

Epson

After the last two years of Covid and lockdowns it was really positive to be able to get out and meet customers again. The day was very well attended and gave Epson the chance to showcase POS and ColorWorks Hardware, including some new mobile products. It was also a great chance for ID&C to showcase their Event Badging solution which includes the Epson C3500.

Newland EMEA

Ingram Micro UK have an exceptional partner base and it was a privilege to be able to demonstrate our portfolio of data capture solutions but also meet and understand other business areas that have a massive potential to develop and grow with us. Our products received a lot of interest from AV and Security partners.

Zebra Technologies

Events like the Festival of Technology are extremely important. Given the last two years we have all experienced, getting a chance to meet partners face to face is vital. Going beyond Microsoft Teams is a relief sometimes, especially when we have introduced so many new products and can get the product in a person’s hand.

 

 

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