Ingram Micro Partners Describe Unique Roads to Success
INGRAM MICRO ONE — Distributors debuting partner enablement tools, programs and services is one thing, but when partners take those gems and run with them, well, that’s something else.
Attendees at Ingram Micro ONE this week in Washington, D.C., learned that they have a lot to be uncomfortable about; in fact, it’s been easy to lose count of how often that pivotal mantra has been repeated.
As scary as that might sound, it isn’t stopping partners like Jason Doherty, director of sales, R2 Unified Technologies, or Gustavo Parés, partner at Nearshore Delivery Solutions (NDS), from taking their businesses in directions that weren’t even on their radar.
In fact, they did the very thing that Kirk Robinson, U.S. chief country executive at Ingram Micro, asked of them — to get uncomfortable, not be complacent and hone a relentless focus on improvement.
Partner Case Study #1 — Wireless Infrastructure
An Ingram Micro Trust X Alliance partner since 2012 – just four years after R2 was founded – the partner was selected to be the IT provider for this year’s CrossFit Games. The job included providing a wired and wireless infrastructure.
Nice. But for the Boca Raton, Florida-based systems integrator and managed services provider that focuses on converged data center, collaboration, enterprise networking, and security, wireless was a stretch.
“It’s only recently that we talk about our experience in wireless,” said Doherty. “Whenever I used to talk about wireless, I talked about how we fell into wireless by luck. Now when anyone asks me what’s R2’s biggest differentiator, I tell them wireless infrastructure.”
Of course, there’s some irony to the company’s story. It grew up in the golf world; the PGA Tour’s Honda Classic was R2’s first customer. The partner provided voice, data services and wireless for that event. That job translated into a bigger project. R2’s sister company, R2 Innovative Technologies, developed the scoring software for the LPGA. The LPGA.com software rides on R2 Unified Technologies infrastructure.
“We designed a Cisco wireless network that goes tournament to tournament, globally, and provides all of the connectivity to golf courses of the LPGA.
R2 continued to work in that market which was, admittedly, complex and stressful. As the partner simultaneously grew its corporate business, it decided to – temporarily – price itself out of the events market. That was about five years ago.
Earlier this year, R2 got a call from an organization that was running the CrossFit Games. They had a terrible experience the prior year and asked that R2 get back into the business.
“So, what do we do? We say, ‘Sure,’” said Doherty.
The job description for the Wisconsin location where the games are held: Provide wired and wireless access to about 3,000 users across 11 venues, 164 acres, multiple public access areas, and a seven-day implementation period and two-day tear-down time, in a temporary environment. All that, plus they wanted a fixed rate cost in a location surrounded by livestock.
“We say, ‘Yes,’” said Doherty.
A second site survey reveals no cabling infrastructure whatsoever. That got R2 feeling the time crunch of traveling between Boca Raton and Madison. And R2 wasn’t structured cabling experts.
Rushing the job would only lead to mistakes and the quality would suffer. They needed help.
“Once we decided we were in, we decided we go for a year-one contract and give a year-two option. Then we’d go for year three and four,” said Doherty.
R2 turned to Trust X to find a partner — that partner turned out to be Managed Business Communications (MBC). What MBC had to deliver: an immediate site visit, an accurate delivery timeline, and a quote. It was clear to R2 that its Trust X partner understood the spirit of their relationship.
The job was formidable: MBC had to work around several Clydesdale horses and cows, a lot of dirt, tons of moisture and sand, and grounds that had to be watered down daily. The partner had limited access to lifts and power equipment. The two Trust X partners said yes to a job that involved turning a livestock facility into tech infrastructure hub.
It was a challenge for R2 to be hands-off for 30 days while MBC took ownership of the project; however, MBC met the agreed-upon time frames and sent pictures and reports on their work.
“They did everything as we would have done it ourselves,” Doherty admitted. “When we outsource, we get a little nervous; however, in this case, that was not the case.”
“Allowing them to execute allowed us to deliver what we do best, which was delivering the wireless coverage.
”We got excellent feedback from head of CrossFit, who enacted second year option, which now includes going a step further to enhance the end-user experience.”
Partner Case Study #2 — Intellectual Property
Nearshore is a 15-year old IT company focused on hardware, software projects and staff augmentation. In 2014, the partner had the idea to package some of the cloud solutions it built and grew its IP. The company implemented its chat-box solution to customers in Mexico.
“Then our business model changed a lot. We now have projects using our own cloud-based solution that includes artificial intelligence, machine learning and analytics,” said Parés.
NDS expanded, now with operations in North and South America.
The company integrated its cloud chat-box solution with WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, SMS and mobile apps, putting Microsoft Azure, IBM Watson and some APIs together with NDS IP — then connected the NDS solution to its clients’ back-end systems.
The business implementations of rolling out cloud solutions with NDS’ technology are significant, according to Parés. He pointed to a telephone call versus using a chat box: “That’s 20 minutes on the phone compared to less than 1 minute with chat box,” he said. The solution can hold 16,000 conversations at once.
NDS customers include those in the financial sector, e-commerce companies, retail customers and more. The company offers several ISV cognitive solutions and continues to sell hardware, software and staff augmentation.
“I strongly recommend to Ingram Micro partners that as you develop your own IP, you put it in the Ingram Micro Marketplace. They’ll help not only on the commercial side but also on the IBM, Microsoft and big players,” said Parés.