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5 Ways Ingram Micro Is Upping Its Game For Partners
Ingram Micro’s Kirk Robinson outlines five ways the distributor is putting partners in a better position to grow their business.
Kirk Robinson, Ingram Micro’s executive vice president and president of North America, outlined five ways the distributor is putting partners in a better position to grow their business, including Xvantage, a new digital twin platform aimed at improving the learning, partnering and buying experience for partners.
Through automation intelligence and machine learning, Xvantage users can perform a multitude of tasks for their employees and customers such as order and status tracking and customer service as well as get insight and recommendations.
“We cannot continue to do things we did yesterday. You look at what’s working and you continue to build upon it. You have to be brave enough to go do things like this platform. This is not easy, it’s not inexpensive, but we are all in,” he said.
Robinson also talked about bringing in the right talent to help with cloud and data migration and the distributor’s efforts to help partners with financing.
1. Xvantage Platform Is A ‘Game-Changer’
Sanjib [Sahoo, executive vice president and chief digital officer] comes in with proven capability of having [built digital platforms] before and he explained, ‘Here’s what this [Xvantage] platform looks like and can do,’ and I said, ‘I want in on it.’ Sanjib has been on board about a year and he’s proving himself every day with the talent he’s brought and the capabilities around the platform. I get more excited every day as we bring more partners on and get more feedback. This is a game-changer.
2. Data Insight Eliminates Complexity
One of the most exciting things we’re doing now is around data and looking at how we can take data insight and wor.k with partners to help them grow their business. Everything we’re doing is about the customer experience and how do we take the complexity out of the business. We have years worth of experience working with business intelligence and data. Now we’re sitting down across the table and talking to [partners] about a particular end user and helping them understand the type of technology that end user is using and how they can change their story to help them be compliant and more secure. So it’s really exciting with Xvantage. This is going to allow us to scale that.
3. AI And ML Are Built Into The Xvantage Platform
We are working on how to simplify and once again take the complexity out of the business. With this, there’s a lot of automation. The other thing that we’re building into [the Xvantage platform] is something that the industry basically struggles with: tracking shipments. What Sanjib has built with order status and tracking [capabilities] is using AI and ML to implement the vendor data. We’re dependent upon the vendor data when it’s coming from them, either shipping into our warehouses or shipping direct to an end user or partner. By using AI we’re able to get more intelligent.
4. Focusing On Bringing In ‘The Right Talent’
Our customers need help with cloud migration and data migration, and CloudLogic [the cloud data center consulting company Ingram Micro acquired in 2021] fits right into the cloud team and everything we’re doing to support our customers in that journey. We’re bringing Paul Hager [vice president of services for the U.S.] on because of his experience. He’s been in the shoes of our partners, he knows how to grow business and he knows the pain points of the services world. What we’re doing now is looking at how do we grow organically by bringing in the right talent. I can tell you we’re always acquisitive, and I look at different companies almost on a monthly basis. But in the services world, you get a lot of them that would have us competing with partners, and that’s not something we’re going to do. We’re here to support the partner. Right now we’re looking more into bringing in the right talent.
5. Supporting Partners With Financing
‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’—I heard that quote from someone else but it’s a popular phrase. You can’t grow if you’re comfortable. You have to get uncomfortable. You have to strain and learn more and put yourself in situations where you’re going to grow. So how we relate that is looking at all the areas where our partners need support. Another big area that we work with our partners on is creative financing. It’d be very easy for us to just give them a credit line and extend it when they have a deal and say, ‘OK, now we’re good to go.’ We’re now having conversations with customers about financing that truly helped them grow their business, not just a deal.