Technology fuels businesses large and small. Businesses are embracing digital transformation as they place a high priority on retaining customers, expanding into new markets, improving business processes and innovating with new products and services. That mindset is fueling IT spending, which Gartner predicts to grow by 2.9 percent in worldwide in 2017, reaching $3.5 trillion, after a slight dip last year.
With technology so strategic, the way businesses purchase technology has evolved. “The decision-maker is changing,” says Jennifer Anaya, vice president, marketing, Ingram Micro North America. “CIOs are serving the line-of-business leaders who are making the decisions. They know what they want to accomplish, whether it’s a new capability or a cost savings, but they don’t know the technology. The IT teams need to make sure it works, stays up and is secure.”
That’s why there’s such strong demand for solution providers that can help business and technology leaders put their strategies into practice as efficiently and quickly as possible.
Realize the Promise of Technology
Solution providers have an unparalleled opportunity to help businesses with digital transformation. Those who work smarter can capture more of the opportunity, streamline the transaction process and close deals sooner.
Ingram Micro is committed to helping partners shorten the sales cycle. “Ingram Micro works to serve our partners better so they never have to say no,” says Anaya. “Ingram Micro has become an indispensible business partner,” with robust services that not only enable solution providers to deliver solutions and services, but also educate their customers on the business value, market their offerings and maximize the value of technology investments.
Hutchinson Networks, a U.K.-based IT network service provider, has been on a rapid growth trajectory. “Our business doubled in the last two years,” says Stephen Heslop, COO of Hutchinson Networks. “We were growing much faster than our credit limit. We met with our Ingram Micro finance director and explained what we wanted to do, and he extended our credit so we could fuel our growth.”
It’s a common situation. “With the rapidly changing consumption models, many solution providers are trying to figure out how to finance their business,” says Tim Ament, senior vice president, Advanced Solutions, Ingram Micro. “There isn’t one size that fits all, and we can have a good business discussion with partners and help them deal with that complexity.”
Extend Your Reach
“Working with Ingram Micro can help solution providers shorten the time it takes to get into a new business area,” says Ament. “They can speed up deployment and execution.” Working with Ingram Micro’s partner technical enablement team can help solution providers gain technical certifications, design solutions faster and develop robust practices in new areas.
Sikich, a professional services firm based in the Chicago area, has seen strong success with wireless network assessments from Ingram Micro Professional Services. Bringing in an expert third party adds credibility. “Working with the Ingram Micro Professional Services team has helped us win business and be more confident in our ability to deploy solutions,” says Ryan Overtoom, a partner at Sikich.
It also brings clout. “By dealing with Ingram Micro, you gain access to vendor relationships that you’d otherwise never have,” says Robert Bell, director of operations, Integrated Data Technologies (IDT), based in Florida. “When we are presented with an opportunity that’s a little larger or more complex than normal, such as a data center or storage virtualization, with one phone call I can be connected to a senior systems engineer at the vendor or have a field rep who will come with me to present the proposal. In a competitive situation, what could look better?”
Fuel Growth With Advanced Solutions
Ingram Micro has deep expertise in big data and analytics, security, cloud, customer experience, mobility, converged infrastructure and the emerging Internet of Things. Solution providers can help customers leverage advanced solutions and leading technologies to drive transformation.
“We identify categories that are less mature but are growing more rapidly than the traditional IT market,” says Ament. “We can absorb the initial risk and have made long-term investments in areas such as network security, digital signage, unified communications, physical security and data capture/point of sale.” With cybersecurity concerns at an all-time high, solution providers can look to Ingram Micro for guidance in building the right security portfolio. “Some solution providers specialize in security, but others may have great relationships with customers who have security as top of mind. If they’re not talking about security, someone else is, and that’s a long-term risk,” says Ament.
Access to new complementary technologies can be key to creating differentiated solutions for customers, and Ingram Micro works closely with emerging vendors. “Many vendors in emerging markets don’t know how to embrace the channel community,” says Ament. “When we get involved, it shortens the sales cycle because we can scale the selling process and make it much smoother.”
A Bright Future for Cloud Services
The cloud in all its forms has dramatically changed how businesses adopt technology. “It’s important for partners to get ahead of the rapidly changing consumption model of technology,” says Ament. “Ingram Micro can help partners transition into services.” “When we made the transition to new types of recurring revenue services, we found that the platform was very difficult to accomplish efficiently,” says Bell. “Ingram Micro has assisted us in shortening our sales cycle and allowing us to operate in an environment that is new, very competitive and detail-oriented. Ingram Micro’s processes, expertise and cloud services portal facilitated that transition so we could go out and earn that business.”
The Power of Community
The ability to partner easily and with high confidence can make a big difference in closing more deals—and faster. With Ingram Micro communities such as Trust X Alliance and SMB Alliance, partners can work with like-minded peers to go after a solution or market opportunity.
“We leverage the Trust X Alliance for our clients in geographies where we don’t have feet on the ground,” says Overtoom. It’s mutually beneficial, as other Trust X Alliance members have leveraged Sikich’s expertise in security, compliance and enterprise software. “The ability to reach out to solution providers with whom we have relationships has helped us keep business as our clients have grown,” says Overtoom.
Bell is also a big proponent. “The SMB Alliance is a fantastic option for someone who wants to extend their reach without having to put a whole lot of people on staff to get to the same point,” says Bell.
Go Deeper In Verticals
Maximizing the value of technology often requires specialized knowledge of vertical markets, and solution providers can tap into Ingram Micro’s expertise in healthcare, financial services, retail and public sector. “We have the market expertise on the sales side and the technology expertise in the business unit,” says Anaya. “For instance, in healthcare, we have a doctor on staff who can help partners understand how doctors think.”
Make a Lasting Impression
“Solution providers can use content to shorten the sales cycle,” says Anaya. “Through Agency Ingram Micro, we arm partners with content they can use to help decision-makers find them and understand their options.” That’s especially important today, with a buying process that’s collaborative between business and IT. Agency Ingram Micro can help partners develop the content they need for different marketing channels, including websites, executive events, social media, public relations and videos. “There’s a convergence between sales and marketing that’s rocking everyone’s world,” she says.
A Continued Commitment
Beyond resources and programs, Ingram Micro’s focus on shortening the sales cycle comes down to its people. “We have a concerted effort to make Ingram Micro a great place to work, with motivated associates who are well-prepared to serve our clients,” says Ament. “When we help our partners better serve their customers, we all earn better.”
That philosophy goes a long way. “When you’re trying to explain a need, a concern or a want, Ingram Micro listens,” says Bell. “It sets the stage for the entire relationship.”