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Ingram Micro Doubles Down On IoT With New Center Of Excellence

“We don’t want to multiply the problems or the challenges that the reseller is trying to solve. We want to complement their effort and support them,” Sabine Howest, vice president of global partner engagement and IoT at Ingram Micro said.

Ingram Micro has launched its IoT Center of Excellence where it will showcase ideas geared to help partners start and grow an IoT practice built on multi-vendor technologies, the company said.

Sabine Howest, vice president of global partner engagement and IoT, who has spent the last 10 years at Ingram Micro working with some of the company’s largest vendors, is in charge of the division. She said she has seen the potential of IoT in combining some of those vendors’ products into a single solution.

“Managing the Ciscos and the IBMs, the Hewlett Packards and Arubas of this world, I was not far away from their go-to-market for IoT,” Howest told CRN recently. “It’s a good place for us, for Ingram Micro to play. We have a cool spot there on our side to go and combine some of that stuff and make it a more balanced offering for some of those solutions.”

[Related: 2020 Internet Of Things 50: Realizing The Promise Of IoT]

With the recovery from coronavirus appearing to involve more automation and fewer people working in an office, the IoT space is especially well positioned for the months ahead. Howest said her internal goal for the next few months will be to understand where the distributor has expertise and to build out those areas that are strong. She said looking outwards, the goal, as always, is to deliver the best solutions and services to partners.

“What are the end-user needs that they are facing and how can we complete the solutions they are building with consultancy or other types of services, so that we can team up with them,” she said. “We don’t want to multiply the problems or the challenges that the reseller is trying to solve. We want to complement their effort and support them and, if they don’t have an IoT practice, we want to help them to get started. The customer experience part of this is something that I have very high on my agenda.”

The recently completed center of excellence in Irvine, Calif., will remain shuttered for the time being, however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ingram Micro closed its Irvine campus last month because of Orange County restrictions on businesses.) When it is opens partners will see the top products, solutions and vendors in the IoT space, said Paul Bay, executive vice president and president of Global Technology Solutions at Ingram Micro.

“Global Center of Excellence will smooth and accelerate the road-to-market for our channel partners and manufacturers specializing in IoT, and pave the way for us to share best practices, new market applications, and resources globally,” Bay said in a statement.

Ingram Micro Trust X partner Mark Essayian, president of KME Systems Inc., an MSP in Lake Forest, Calif., said the distributor’s continuing investment in IoT during this period of uncertainty is reassuring to solution providers.

“Even with everything going on, they’re saying, ‘We are going to get through this, and this is what you are going to need when we do,’” he said. “They haven’t lost sight of the idea that there is going to be an end to this, and that’s powerful for partners to hear.”

Essayian has been building his IoT practice since last year and said the center of excellence, and the high-caliber talent Ingram Micro has put together for partners, is delivering results for his business.

“Ingram Micro is giving us solutions to sell to our existing clients,” he said. “We may not be selling at this exact moment, but we have the ability to start planning for those conversations when the time comes.”

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