Ingram Micro announced Wednesday that its new platform, Xvantage, is now rolling out in Canada and Latin America.
Launched earlier this month in the U.S. and Germany, Xvantage is an artificial intelligence (AI) powered platform that’s wrapped around Ingram’s existing systems, creating a “digital twin” that allows associates, partners, and vendors to interact with the company in a more consumer-like way.
Ingram Micro refers to the platform as a digital twin because “everything that you can do with Ingram today, you can work with the digital twin of Ingram Micro, which is Xvantage,” said Sanjib Sahoo, executive vice president and chief digital officer of Ingram Micro.
“[Sahoo] came to Ingram with a vision,” said Bill Brandel, chief country executive and senior vice president, Ingram Micro Canada. “He really wanted to transform the way distribution interacts, and he wanted to build a platform that would be more of an ecosystem and be able to be an experience for partners like they’d never had, doing business in this space.”
The Xvantage digital experience platform is powered by a global real-time data mesh containing many years of operating and transactions data, as well as by several proprietary engines which are enhanced by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, the company said. Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace is also integrated into Xvantage, allowing cloud solutions to be easily incorporated into solutions containing technology, hardware, software, and professional services.
The vision for the platform came into being 15 months ago, and the tool itself was built internally in 15 weeks. Additional features and functions will be added every two weeks to start, and next year the cadence will increase.
“The whole extraction and harmonization of data and creating federated data stores is key,” Sahoo explained. “You have to really harmonize data so that even if your data structure is similar, but attributes are different, you have to read data differently. We actually work to create that harmonization in our data lake, and really prepare that data staged for use. Ultimately, what happens then comes under orchestration about the same platform, but it’s cloud-based, and really thinking of that data model. The architecture and the orchestration are the keys to this platform. That is why we are able to move pretty fast, and it does not take a lot of overhead for the countries to do integration from scratch. We are doing it in weeks, primarily because the platform gives you the ability to take the complexity away by already aggregating the systems via data.”
“I think the brilliance of the tool is that it’s a global tool with local capabilities as well,” said Anthony Karim, Ingram’s newly appointed vice president, Go to Market for Canada. “It wasn’t something that was built for a region and then being adopted in another region. This is a global tool that we’re all using a good baseline on, and we can layer on local capabilities like currency, like language and things like that. That’s why it’s been a fairly painless launch in Canada and the other countries as well.”
Canadian channel partner Joanna Muzzatti, chief executive officer of Commerx, an MSP and member of Ingram Micro’s Trust X Alliance community, is enthusiastic about Xvantage. “Ingram Micro Xvantage will allow us the freedom to work faster and smarter, focusing on our business versus in our business,” she said. “Within days of test-driving the platform, we can see the growing impact the efficiency gains and business insights will have on our experience as an Ingram Micro partner. What’s even more exciting is knowing how these benefits will extend to and enhance the experience we can deliver to our customers.”
Now that the partner platform has launched, the company plans a pilot of an Xvantage vendor platform this year, with a full launch early in 2023, and plans to go live with Xvantage for associates and partners in several additional countries by the end of 2022. Functions such as credit increases, order tracking, order management and purchases will also be seamless and available from the Xvantage platform.
“This is a start of a journey and we’re going to keep on building, and learn from what is working, what is not working, with a range of feedback loops and keep tweaking and improving it and launch new features,” Sahoo said.
“With Xvantage, Ingram Micro is solving for the complexity across the IT Channel—applying the functionality of the B2C experience to the B2B technology industry—and making it easier and more effective to consume and build on the business value distribution offers,” said Jeff Newton, research director, Infrastructure Channels & Ecosystems, IDC, who has been following the digitization of Ingram Micro since Sahoo’s appointment. “It’s an important takeaway for the industry to see the prioritization Ingram Micro continues to place on the human aspect of the digital journey. When it comes to disruptive innovation, we must keep people, not just platform top of mind.”