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Iron Bow CEO On Intel Partnership, Supply Chain Issues, And How Hiring ‘Difference Makers’ Is Driving Growth

‘We’ve got a campaign this year, a modernization campaign. Having collaboration with Intel, we have co-developed a hybrid cloud solution that will replace and refresh our aging data center infrastructure. And Intel is with us on all of that,’ Iron Bow CEO Rene LaVigne tells CRN.

Intel’s inaugural Vision event brought in partners from around the globe this week, including Iron Bow Technologies President and CEO Rene LaVigne, who was just as excited for the opportunity to network as he was to learn about the semiconductor giant’s news.

“[They’ve] got great speakers lined up,” said LaVigne, who also sits on Intel’s Solutions Advisory Council. “Intel is selfless in the sense that we are not a direct channel for them. I sit at the edge between all the OEM products and the customers—I don’t buy anything from Intel directly. Yet they are huge supporters of the channel. And ultimately, they recognize that if they can assist us with information and with market direction and guidance that the more educated we are, the more impact it’s going to have on their business and the marketplace overall.”

Here‘s what LaVigne had to say about Intel’s vision, hybrid work tools, and boosting Iron Bow’s health-care business.

Any developments you’ll be keeping an eye on during the event? 

I’m more focused on what I would call the ‘directional thinking’ [at Intel]. We’ve seen and heard the efforts this year around IT modernization, which is a huge issue across the marketplace. So that’s No. 1, and a close second is the whole workforce experience. So now that we’ve worked our way through the pandemic and there’s been a lot of firsts for a lot of organizations in terms of having to work virtually, and we’re coming back in a hybrid form. We always had virtual work going on, but not the core. When you have distributed employees, [the workforce experience] is even more important than it was when they were face-to-face. The infrastructure has to be there to manage these things. You can’t put the cart before the horse—the toolsets and the collaboration elements and communication elements are absolutely critical. And the digital experience wrapped all around that is more and more pressing. The more technology expands everyone’s opportunity, the more opportunity there is for abuse.

What do you think Intel could do to improve things on the channel side of the business? Are there things it could focus on that would help channel partners navigate supply chain issues? 

They’ve been very helpful in providing periodic data on what’s going on in the supply chain and if that could become more frequent, that would be helpful. Supply chain is such a huge issue, not just for me and the customers, but for Intel as well. We heard a lot about those efforts during the Advisory Council meeting [Tuesday]. They’re going to build the major manufacturing facilities in the U.S. [and Europe], so they are putting some things in their own control that we let get away from the U.S. as a whole.

What’s happening at Iron Bow Technologies? 

Great news is going on in the business. During the pandemic, things were up and down. I’d say 2020 was like ‘the sky is coming down’ and it slowed down a lot of things. But folks figured it out, and we accelerated in the pandemic. Our business is thriving and coming into 2022, I’m super energized. Part of it is marketplace evolution and the other part is new infusion of talent and resources. We’ve been extremely successful at attracting what I’m going to call some ‘difference makers’ in our marketplace. And those folks attract for difference makers. We’ve got a reasonably diversified business that we’re working on to diversify further. There’s a heavy emphasis on federal government solutions, but we also have a robust health-care business, as well as a commercial business. We are looking forward to a tremendous amount of opportunity in all these spaces. We’ve been extremely successful over the last decade.

What are some things driving the success in the health-care space? 

I used to tell the team: ‘We don’t make anything. We just make things work.’ But over the last seven years, we actually started producing products for the health-care space. It’s really timely, given the pandemic situation, and our products support the virtual care market and our telehealth market, so providers can engage with patients in a much different way than just physical face-to-face. And that portion of the business just took off in the last decade. We partnered with the [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] and because of our expertise in information technology and video collaboration, we started to work on a telehealth program for them. And what we’ve built is the largest and most comprehensive telehealth program in the world in support of our veterans.

How do you work with Intel to integrate its technology?

Intel is powering a lot of these solutions. And they’ve started to think about how they can help us drive deeper into the marketplace. We’ve got a campaign this year, a modernization campaign. Having collaboration with Intel, we have co-developed a hybrid cloud solution that will replace and refresh our aging data center infrastructure. And Intel is with us on all of that. … They’re on par with my top OEM partners in terms of channel engagement and leadership. That’s remarkable when you think about it. Because with my OEM partners, I have a direct impact on their business. So, from a channel perspective, Intel should be applauded for the time and commitment they’re putting in.

 

 

 

 

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