Ingram Micro CEO On Xvantage: ‘Nobody Has Done This In This Industry’
Wade Tyler Millward
The Xvantage platform ‘has the most comprehensive portfolio with the largest global reach,’ says Ingram Micro CEO Paul Bay at the Ingram Micro Global Cloud & Innovation Summit.
Ingram Micro’s Xvantage, the platform that promises to be the digital twin of the IT distributor, is meant to improve not only how solution providers do business, but Ingram Micro itself.
That’s one of the takeaways from Ingram Micro CEO Paul Bay’s keynote address Tuesday during the Ingram Micro Global Cloud & Innovation Summit. The event garnered about 2,300 people in attendance and runs through Wednesday in Las Vegas.
Xvantage “has the most comprehensive portfolio with the largest global reach,” Bay said on stage. “Nobody has done this in this industry. And I’m proud to be able to say that.”
[RELATED: Ingram Micro GCIS 2023: Xvantage Adds Unified Product Catalog Across Hardware, Software]
Ingram Micro Xvantage
Bay also talked about some of the efficiencies Xvantage promises, saying that consumers can track a pizza from order to delivery but solution providers “can’t track an order without having some human interaction ... along the way.”
Ingram has 160,000 solution provider customers, Bay said.
And Ingram Micro gets 2.4 million emails, phone calls and other order status requests a year from solution providers in the U.S. for deals that on average feature six products and services and more than half of those deals featuring a discount or price change to add more complexity.
“We can’t afford to do business the way we’re doing it,” Bay said. “But we need to move fast.”
Xvantage promises efficiencies in these areas and others, according to the distributor. Ingram Micro this week unveiled a unified product catalog across hardware and software within Xvantage, reduced time for quote-to-order and other advancements coming.
“We need to be able to deliver a business-to-consumer experience in a business-to-business environment,” Bay said.
“Ultimately, my vision is to be able to turn everything into ARR [annual recurring revenue] or consumption, and how we can do that at scale, no matter the size and the opportunity.”
David DeCamillis, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Madison, Wis.-based Ingram Micro customer and Microsoft partner Applied Tech, told CRN that the business intelligence and reporting promised by Xvantage by unifying data resources spread across the distributor should help Ingram Micro solution providers in a big way.
“It’s a game-changer,” he said. “It’s a differentiator. They’re already the biggest technology distributor in the world. This makes them the best.”
Sanjib Sahoo, Ingram Micro’s chief digital officer and executive vice president, demonstrated Xvantage on stage Tuesday to show the simplified ordering process for software and hardware and the ability for solution providers to track orders until delivery.
“Today, every day we are improving to be better,” Sahoo said. “This is not perfect. But it’s a direction to [becoming] better.”
During a conference with analysts and reporters following his keynote, Sahoo said that his goal is for Xvantage to be intuitive enough that solution providers don’t need a tutorial.
Xvantage serves as a vendor-, cloud- and product-agnostic complement to vendors’ own marketplaces and platforms, Sahoo said. Ingram Micro is “working closely” with hyperscalers for tighter listings and data integration on Xvantage.
More hyperscaler integrations will come later this year, Sahoo said. He also envisions a Shopify-type capability from Xvantage that would allow solution providers to create their own digital storefronts for end customers.
Ingram Micro is also working on “bidirectional coordination” for information on Xvantage and vendor platforms, he said.
Xvantage marks a change in how solution providers can interact with vendors, Victor Baez, Ingram Micro’s senior vice president of global cloud sales, said during the analyst and reporters event.
Even three years ago, “everybody was very, very much intimidated by the hyperscalers pushing all these listings out to the customers,” he said.
But customers have said they want solution providers and MSPs to make sure vendor services work. And for solution providers, Ingram Micro and other distributors act as a curator of vendor offerings, finding what is channel-friendly.
“Today, it is more of an opportunity,” he said.
“If anything, it’s going to make our two platforms scale much faster and in a much more productive way,” he added.
When asked by CRN about whether Ingram Micro is concerned about other distributors investing in their online platforms in response to Xvantage, Baez said that solution providers want a better digital experience from all distributors.
“I would expect everybody to ramp up their platforms, but not just because of us, because it’s what their customers are asking for,” Baez said. In the end, we’re all competing with the direct experience.”
Ingram Micro’s Cloudblue will continue to exist for Ingram Micro solution providers who “want to go a little more deeper, use our technology and integrate tighter” with the distributor, Sahoo said.
“If you want to do business with Ingram Micro, you use Xvantage,” he said. “If you want to do business through Ingram Micro, you use Cloudblue.”
He added that Ingram Micro is also working on making Xvantage more friendly to developers, although it is designed as an open platform and Ingram Micro offers a software development kit (SDK) and other tools for that community.
More notification options, including notifications through devices such as Amazon Alexa and Apple Watch, are also possibilities, Sahoo said.