Ingram Micro Boosts Portfolio For Unified Communications, Collaboration Solutions

Ingram Micro has upped the ante when it comes to its unified communications and collaboration (UCC) portfolio, the distributor said at its ONE Ingram Micro event in Las Vegas.

Leading the UCC charge will be new appointment Bob Gutschenritter, who will serve as director of UCC for Ingram Micro North America. Gutschenritter brings with him a long history in the telecom industry, including executive level positions at Avaya, Alcatel Lucent and AT&T.

In the past, Ingram had an extensive line card for UCC solutions that was spread across the company, Gutschenritter said, but now the Santa Ana, Calif.-based distributor is looking to unify the focus around the portfolio. With that shift, Gutschenritter told CRN he hopes Ingram will be able to act as a better resource for solution providers looking to expand their UCC capabilities.

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"My goal would be that every reseller that wants to do UCC, we enable them and provide the roadmaps and make strategy work for their business and move forward and make that a business for the reseller," Gutschenritter said.

To help accomplish that, Gutschenritter said he will be hire a team of mostly technical consultants and business development to help resellers build demand and then execute on solutions. He said the team will focus on the pre-sales to the point where the sale is made, leaving the implementation to the VAR unless asked for help.

Gutschenritter said he thinks this UCC push will appeal to both current resellers of UCC solutions looking to bring the next generation of technology to their clients, as well as resellers who haven't yet considered UCC in their portfolio. He said there is big opportunity for both parties to make margins on UCC, as well as with add-ons such as pro-AV, video, telephony and more.

"Across Ingram Micro and the business units we have, we can bring those solutions to the table. Now that reseller, who normally just talks about the UC, can get more aligned and maybe more stickiness with their client because now they can bring a broader solution. Typically when you bring the broader solution, the revenue goes up and a lot of times the margin goes up with it," Gutschenritter said.

Overall, Gutschenritter said resellers that are either already offering UCC solutions or those who are just starting to make the leap are positioned well. As technology continues to evolve, Gutschenritter predicted a bigger emphasis will fall on UCC in particular.

"There are a ton of networks out there today that the equipment is aging on. We all know that the technology is evolving, the requirements are evolving, the way we communicate is different than the way the kids communicate as they enter the workforce. You're going to have to continue adapting with time," Gutschenritter said.

Gutschenritter said the UCC business as a whole is already a $19 billion business, with 7 percent year over year growth. He said that while Ingram Micro has approximately 40,000 transaction resellers, he estimated 10 percent of those partners are involved in UCC solutions.

"It's a large market with growth that's going to be taking place. A lot of the growth will come as companies figure out how to push content across the networks. That’s going to drive the need for evolving the current networks," he said.

Daniel Stockman, president and COO of Orlando, Fla.-based i-Tech Support, said his company does a lot of collaboration work around video, telepresence and more, primarily on Cisco technology acquired through Ingram Micro.

While he said that he doesn't feel he necessarily needs more support from Ingram Micro in regards to collaboration, he said he would like Ingram Micro to continue its overall push to focus on resellers and building initiatives for their benefit.

"I think from Ingram, obviously for us as a reseller and one of their partners, obviously [I'd like to see] continued support and really making sure that they're focusing on us as a customer and they don't go off in different directions. ... Just focusing on us as a customer and helping best serve us and our initiatives," Stockman said.