Ingram Micro's Advanced Solutions group is laying the groundwork for partners to drive big sales and profit from an Internet of Things market explosion that, according to research firm Gartner, will see 20.4 billion IoT devices in use worldwide by 2020.
In fact, Ingram Micro is assembling its own IoT solutions that partners can bring to market, said Tim Ament, senior vice president of Ingram Micro's Advanced Solutions. That includes combining IoT offerings from Intel and others with business analytics software and the security needed to protect all the data that is captured and stored, he said.
"We already provide all the connectivity, security, and on-premises and off-premises components," said Ament of the distributor's IoT solutions portfolio. "And we have the software partners to bring together complete solutions."
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Ingram Micro also is going wide and deep with Intel on its IoT Market Ready offerings, which combine Intel technology with that of various third-party vendors, Ament said.
"We're focused on scaling those solutions and bringing them to market," he said.
The IoT charge is just one example of the distribution behemoth's advanced technology and solutions prowess. The distributor in the past few years has invested heavily in providing forward-looking, specialized products and services that help solution providers capture hot new markets, said Ament.
That includes specialized technologies such as networked security, data center infrastructure, unified communications and collaboration, professional audio/visual, data-capturing point-of-sale solutions, and advanced offerings from such vendors as Cisco Systems, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and IBM.
"We have made the investments, both organically and through acquisitions, to help partners be successful," said Ament.
Looking forward, Ingram Micro is investing in bringing enhanced edge computing related to IoT to solution providers, he said. "There's a need for analytics around IoT, and that requires lightweight edge computing," he said.
Also on the horizon is a cloud strategy to support IoT, said Tim FitzGerald, vice president of cloud channel sales for the distributor. Ingram Micro already has made a huge investment in helping solution providers stand up and expand cloud services, he said.
The company works extensively with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services and the IBM Cloud. It is the world's largest distributor of Microsoft, including Office 365 and Azure, FitzGerald told CRN.
Ingram Micro is seeing demand from partners who want to leverage its cloud platform to consolidate all their cloud services, FitzGerald said. This includes not only Microsoft technologies such as Office 365 and Microsoft Dynamics, but also Dropbox, DocuSign, Intuit, Zoom, VMware, Cisco and IBM.
"We can bring these all together in a single invoice," he said.
These offerings are backed up with Ingram Micro services including training, go-to-market strategies, deployment and recovery of assets, Ament said.
Also important is financing to help partners bring more advanced technologies to market on a consumption basis, as well as a consistent strategy for global opportunities, he said.
Ingram Micro has done a great job of bringing together the parts needed to bring cloud solutions to customers, said Steve Johnson, president and CEO of Corus360, an Atlanta-based solution provider that migrates many of its customers to Microsoft Office 365 and the Azure platform.
"Ingram Micro has a subset of vendors to support our initiatives," Johnson told CRN. "It's support that continues to evolve, and we are utilizing it more and more often. And as we connect on-prem data to the cloud, Ingram Micro is also helping with the security."
A strong vetting process combined with solid training and support make Ingram Micro a good partner when looking at advanced technologies, said Alan McDonald, president and CEO of All Connected, a Simi Valley, Calif., solution provider.
Ingram Micro in many ways serves as a gateway to future-facing technologies, he said. "There are probably 10,000 cloud vendors," he said. "Ingram Micro makes sure the vendors' services are right."