Ingram Micro has dived deeper into the education market by becoming the first distributor to partner with Pearson for digital learning solutions for resellers, the company said Thursday.
The move allows Ingram's reseller partners to offer Pearson's e-learning and e-text for personalized learning packages for schools and districts. Using the Pearson digital learning solutions, partners will have access to customized offerings for schools and districts based on their learning needs.
The partnership is significant because it moves resellers beyond a hardware and technology conversation into training, digital content and curriculum, something Ingram Micro Vice President of Vertical Markets, Healthcare and Public Sector Mike Humke called the "meat of education." Being involved on that side of the conversation means the reseller plays a more valuable role to the client, he said.
"You hear a lot about the technology, but technology is not what's going to make a difference. Technology supports the curriculum, technology supports the teachers, technology does not drive education. It supports it," Humke said. "Whether it’s a Chromebook or a tablet, it's a method and a tool to learn. Unless you have the curriculum, unless you have a teacher comfortable using technology in education, then technology isn't worth anything."
The Pearson solutions also will be a big revenue driver for partners, with a new ability to add digital content and curriculum development on top of their regular business, Humke said. He said that he has already heard many education-focused partners excited about the Pearson technology. He expects 50 to 100 partners to get on board before the end of the year.
"I think it’s a tremendous opportunity to take a step forward and really change how partners carry on conversations with schools," Humke said. "This puts learning at the forefront ... if you don't focus on learning, everything else fails," he continued. "Those are all tremendous tools for our partners to provide the consulting services they need to make a difference with those clients."
Beth Vander Loop, manager of education sales at Green Bay, Wis.-based Camera Corner Connecting Point, which provides education solutions, said that having the option to resell the Pearson solutions will give the reseller reach beyond the network infrastructure and bandwidth into conversations about the curriculum.
"From our perspective as a sales team, it is a huge piece to add to our already large portfolio," Vander Loop said.
The move is especially important to help Camera Corner Connecting Point further capitalize on its biggest vertical market, said Dave Pisani, senior vice president of strategy and operations.
"We think that that will be something we can definitely benefit from," Pisani said.
Going forward, Vander Loop said that she would like to see Ingram Micro continue to stay ahead of technology and help resellers such as Camera Corner Connecting Point come out with different ideas and have the resources to continue pursuing the education market.
For its part, Ingram Micro said that throughout 2014, resellers can expect to see a continued push behind education resources, including training and a K-12 playbook for channel partners.
"We continue to invest with unique solutions and tools to help our partners make a difference in the markets we're trying to drive. That’s the value of a vertical market," Humke said. "It's going to be a great success. There's no question in my mind."
PUBLISHED JUNE 19, 2014