Vertical Market And Solution Initiatives

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Darren McBride, president of Sierra Computers & Training in Reno, Nev., calls Ingram Micro’s help in driving HIPAA-compliance solutions one of the crown jewels of being affiliated with the world’s largest computer products distributor.

McBride credits Ingram Micro, Santa Ana, Calif., with making the HIPAA opportunity top of mind for Ingram Micro VentureTech and Ingram Micro Service Network members. Now, Sierra Computers, along with three other solution providers—Chemung Computer, Riata Technologies and Inacom Information Services—have formed a HIPAA Security Associates practice and plan to sell consulting services through the Ingram Micro Service Network.

“The carrot for the other Ingram Micro Service Network members is that they can resell high-margin HIPAA consulting services without having to invest in the HIPAA training,” McBride said.

Ingram Micro isn’t the only distributor layering on vertical market and solution-set expertise over its traditional product-category orientation. Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla., has an imaging solution initiative. Arrow Electronics’ North American Computer Products group, Englewood, Colo., and Alternative Technology, a thin-client specialty distributor in Denver, also have programs targeted at HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley compliance solutions.

“Resellers are looking to us to help them evolve vertical practices by combining products from different vendors to address compliance issues that their clients are facing with HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley,” said Bill Botti, president and COO of Alternative Technology.

In keeping with this trend, Ingram Micro’s effort to help solution providers develop opportunities in the booming health-care market goes beyond sponsoring road shows. The distributor worked with a number of its solution providers to develop a health-care sales strategy, which can include a formalized business plan and a series of health-care demand-generation events.

By the end of April, Ingram Micro plans to deliver a new assessment tool and will be giving more than 12 seminars on capturing a slice of the health-care market with HIPAA solutions. Furthermore, Ingram Micro has more than 40 health-care training and strategy sessions between its sales and tech teams and key vendor partners scheduled from now until the end of the year.

“We are trying to lead with solving the business issue, as opposed to leading with technology and speeds-and-feeds on a distributor line card,” said Pat Collins, senior group vice president of sales and marketing at Ingram Micro.

That vertical solution focus is paying off for McBride, who anticipates he will bring in about $1.4 million in HIPAA revenue this year. That number could be higher if the Ingram Micro Service Network partnership takes off, he said. Other Ingram Micro Service Network members can also join the HIPAA Security Associates practice, but they must meet the standards set.

“Ingram has really engaged and educated resellers about HIPAA,” said McBride. “Ingram has brought vendors like Symantec and Cisco [Systems] to the table and kept the HIPAA interest level up.”

 Published for the Week Of May 3, 2004

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