Ingram Micro Services: Giving Partners Extended Reach

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Ingram Micro's services teams recognize that solution providers can be bigger than just the products and services they can offer on their own.

"Our portfolio is designed to expand the reach of our resellers," said Greg Richey, director of the distributor's training and professional services organization.

Ingram Micro offers services at multiple levels to help solution providers of any size meet customer requirements, Richey said. That includes giving partners the skill sets and geographical reach that they simply do not have access to on their own, he said.

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In fact, Richey said, Ingram Micro makes sure partners have the right services for both before and after the sale, including assessment and deployment services where Ingram Micro personnel go to the customer site. "Everything we build is designed to go through the partners," he said.

One of the most popular services partners request is ongoing security assessments following an initial security solution deployment, Richey said. "We'll show up and do penetration tests," he said. "Partners often sell this as a quasi-recurring-revenue program where we come back every quarter to help pave the way for upgrades."

When those security services are offered on a recurring basis, it allows Ingram Micro to determine if a customer was hacked since the last visit, Richey said.

"If we see a problem, it's usually a people problem," he said. "So we can set up to do phishing tests using phone calls and emails to look at if people give up user IDs or passwords. We almost always get one or the other."

Also important is Ingram Micro Link, an online portal that lets Ingram Micro partners share their expertise or vertical capabilities with their peers, Richey said.

"IM Link lets partners document how they work with other partners so they can work together," he said. "That lets one reseller go to IM Link and, say, fi nd help with a deployment. They sign contracts to prevent things like stealing accounts or disclosing sensitive information. It ensures account control stays with the original partner."

Richey called Ingram Micro Link "Partner nirvana."

"This gives partners the opportunity to do things they couldn't do before," he said. "Ingram Micro also offers financial capabilities so solution providers know they will get paid and buyers know they will get invoiced correctly."

To help partners manage their certifications, Ingram Micro last year began providing partners with flexible online learning and training opportunities.

As part of that, the distributor also introduced a service called "Digital Certs" that makes it easy for partners to see which certifications they have, which are expiring, and what is needed to renew them.

"This replaces a lot of spreadsheets," he said. "It makes it easy for business managers to lay out an entire year of training, and is available for such core vendors as Cisco, Microsoft, HPE, Juniper, VMware and Citrix so far."

NetGain Information Systems frequently uses Ingram Micro for configuration services, said Kelly Jones, president and chief operating officer at the Bellefountaine, Ohio-based solution provider.

"We could do those services in-house, but Ingram Micro has more time-saving, efficient capabilities," Jones told CRN. "With the Ingram Micro solution, they get it quickly burned in and have it ready to go."

NetGain plans to do more with Ingram Micro's configuration services for pro-AV solutions for use with digital signage clients in the future, Jones said.

"If we choose Ingram Micro, we can have the equipment quickly ready to go," she said. "It's nice to know that we have Ingram Micro services if we need it to help close the deal quickly."

Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Corus360, an Atlanta-based provider of managed and infrastructure services, said when his company is in a pinch, it will use Ingram Micro's wireless networking services.

"Ingram Micro is our first go-to when we can't fulfill a contract with our guys," Johnson told CRN. "This is an area we need to do more of with Ingram Micro. They continue to build new services we can use."

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