Ingram Micro Partners Focus on Growth and 2020 Objectives
INGRAM MICRO ONE — Security, IoT, UCaaS and partnering are just some of the hot topics for partners at this year’s Ingram Micro One conference, being held this week in Aurora, Colorado. That’s what Tom Allen, CTO, Virtual Technologies Group, Maumee, Ohio; John Carson, vice president and co-founder, Alphalink Technologies, Newark, Ohio; and Steve Schallert, president, CEO and owner of SDS Technology, Effingham, Illinois, shared with Channel Futures as we discussed their objectives for attending this event and their business vision for the new year.
Allen, Carson and Schallert, are three of the 740 partners, 80% of whom are either Trust X Alliance or SMB Alliance community members, here at Ingram Micro One, that boasts approximately 1,500 attendees, including some 390 vendors.
Virtual Technologies Group (VTG), founded in 1962, is an MSP with about 60 employees. The partner also does project work and some break-fix for customers who haven’t yet made the shift to managed services. The company differentiates itself with enhanced customer satisfaction, meaning listening to the customer and fixing their problems using technology to do it. Staying relevant is key to the company’s success, no easy feat for a 50-year-old-plus company. So, what’s relevant for VTG and its customer’s today — many of those customers who are virtual schools and in the manufacturing sector?
“Security is the hot topic that everybody is going to talk about. How do I protect our borders? What devices am I using to protect infrastructure? How do I train and educate users on how not let the bad people in?” said Allen.
A longtime Ingram Micro partner, Allen says the distributor is a large company “that can enable anything that we want to do.”
VTG has ventured into IoT and has plans to do more with it down the road.
“It hasn’t been a driving factor from the customer perspective yet. I’ve seen it in farms and fields – agriculture – but not so much for us. I’ve also seen it in large hotel chains — again, not for us,” said Allen.
A key driver for Allen attending Ingram Micro One is meeting up with Trust X Alliance members and Ohioan Carson. Not only is Carson a business friend and fellow partner, but he’s also a VTG customer. VTG has a booth displaying its hosted PBX voice product offering.
“And even when it’s not about our hosted PBX voice offering, I’m very interested in partnering on other things,” said Allen. “I have customers in Texas, Arizona, all over the place like a lot of us do, and since we do, having someone from Ingram and Trust X a part of our group makes it easier for us.”
VTG has been a Trust X Alliance member for about a decade.
Carson has been a Trust X Alliance member for two decades. Alphalink Technologies, about 36 years in business, does managed services and project work, serves SMB businesses and works in verticals such as health care and local government.
Meeting up with other partners and building relationships is one key reason Carson is attending Ingram Micro One.
“One of the things I was most interested in this year is trying to get our feet wet with IoT,” he said. “I always want to pick out one or two new services that we can offer our customers. I’m always looking for anything that’s recurring revenue. That’s our major goal — to build as much recurring revenue as we can.”
During the morning keynote, Eric Hembree, director of IoT at Ingram Micro, said IoT is encompassing so many things, like containerization, security, big data, AI, analytics, hardware, platforms, software, application layer and DevOps.
“That’s what’s exciting about IoT. IT is going to become an old term and IoT will take over because it will encompass all of those areas,” he said.
There’s a big role for partners in IoT; they just need to get started.
“The market opportunity is here. The solutions are here and they’re easy to use, easy to deploy, easy to manage and you can start to make money today,” said Hembree. “Partners don’t have to …