Ingram Micro Launches Staff Assist Program To Help Partners With Offshore Talent

‘Our partners tell us that they are having these staffing challenges, and the race for talent has just gotten so brutal, so expensive and so hard to retain,’ says Paul Hager, VP of services for Ingram Micro.


Ingram Micro has launched its Staff Assist program to help IT service providers with the ongoing challenge of finding and retaining talent by pairing them with offshore talent at a fraction of the cost.

Paul Hager, vice president of services for Irvine, Calif-based distributor Ingram Micro , who was once an MSP and a customer of Ingram Micro , constantly hears from partners that they’re continuously having difficulty finding and retaining talent.

“Ingram has a global capability and a global reach,” he told CRN. “When I came into this organization, one of the things that I continue to get feedback on from our partner community was how can Ingram help them globalize and have access to talent that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”

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To help with that, Ingram announced its Staff Assist program where partners can hire Ingram Micro employees at offshore locations and make them a part of an MSP’s team.

“These are Ingram-matched individuals on Ingram devices with Ingram security,” Hager said. “So you have all the trust that this isn’t a fly-by-night organization. It’s not some third party that you don’t know in foreign countries.”

[Related: Building And Enhancing Xvantage Platform Is A ‘Perpetual Journey’: Ingram Micro’s Kirk Robinson]

Offshore talent will be staffed in India, the Philippines and Latin America, but Ingram will soon tap into other regions it has access to.

“A customer can actually say to us, ‘I want one individual with a cloud skillset to work these hours. I want three so that it’s covering 24/7 or a four-hour workday overnight,’” he said.

Partners will be paying 30 to 50 percent less, conservatively, than that of hiring talent in the U.S. for cloud, NOC, server administration, network administration and cybersecurity, according to Hager.

Partners also have the flexibility to hire as many or as few as they want as the service can be scaled down to serve the SMB market or scaled up to enterprise levels. The hiring cycle typically takes about 30 to 60 days.

“Our partners tell us that they are having these staffing challenges, and the race for talent has just gotten so brutal, so expensive and so hard to retain,” he said. “Let’s be honest, there are headwinds in the industry and so pricing pressure is real. No one loves pricing pressure on MSPs but that’s the reality. One of the ways that MSPs can win that battle is to take up an offering like this.”

Chris Ploessel, president of Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Rednight Consulting, said his company has always tried to figure out a way to sub staff out, such as hiring outside California where it may be cheaper to live, or overseas, “but we never really had a relationship or a trusted partnership that we can rely on for that kind of stuff.”

“We would like to stop having overnights and weird hours and we’d like to have virtual capacity,” he told CRN. “This is an easy way to have someone that we can still treat as an employee, but at a discounted pricing. It’s nice to have Ingram be that backstop for the trust and assurance that we’re going to get delivery of what we’re actually looking for.”

And employee satisfaction onshore is better as they no longer will have to work nights, weekends or, more specifically, U.S. holidays if something needs to be handled, Hager said.

Ingram will provide the HR aspects and the devices to the offshore talent. The solutions provider will provide the onboarding and continued training.

“They really operate as an extension of our customer’s team,” he said. “The reality is our MSPs are signing up for all the SaaS services and every one of their services uses offshore resources. How can U.S cybersecurity offerings be $2 a user, a month, and get unlimited support that’s not U.S. based? I think that’s just the reality to how mature the market is.”

And despite many IT companies, like Ingram Micro, laying off employees in the last year, Hager said this offering is not taking away jobs from North American talent.

“When I talk to partners, none of them are saying, ‘Great, I’m going to be able to get rid of a bunch of people,’” he said. “They are saying, ‘Great. I’ve been challenged with figuring out how to do this because of my competition, or I’ve been so short staffed. This is a way for me to provide relief to my onshore employees.’”