Ingram Micro stands behind SMB

“”Stick to your best, outsource the rest.”” That’s the message Ingram Micro Canada Inc. is giving its resellers when it comes to the small to medium business market.

“”Ingram Micro strongly believes that resellers in the SMB channel will need to enhance their existing partnerships,”” said Greg Tobin,

the distributor’s senior director of sales for VAR solutions division-east.

Tobin met with CDN last month at a Toronto conference to discuss the company’s SMB strategy.

The Ingram Micro Technology Expose, which was held at the Toronto Congress Centre, featured seminars and presentations by manufacturers including 3Com Corp., IBM Canada and Toshiba to resellers and end users on practical mobile computing and wireless connectivity solutions.

“”The SMB is huge,”” said Tobin. “”It’s 95 per cent of all businesses (in Canada).”” Tobin said Ingram defines the small-and mid-market as companies with 10 to 499 seats.

Ingram has a few key channel initiatives including SMB Alliance, a targeted campaign designed to “”make markets and influence demand for its reseller and vendor partners at end user verticals.””

Vertical markets are defined by industry codes such as manufacturing, health care, financial and oil and gas. There are 350 SMB Alliance members in Canada.

On the services side there is Ingram Micro Services Network (IMSN), which is a North American network of independent resellers — 35 in Canada — focusing on SMB and international customers. At the heart of the network is a centralized 1-800 dispatch centre that enables services to be distributed to customers across North America.

At the top of the reseller pyramid is the VentureTech Network (VTN), a group of independent resellers who work with Ingram and participating manufacturers to identify challenges faced by SMB and develop solutions. Tobin hopes to make VTN a standard for customers similar to what Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) represents in the floral industry.

Naomi Ashlee, president of VTN in Canada and director of operation at OnDeck Systems, a VTN member, said the biggest struggle with the network is getting a consistent message out.

“”We’re all working to run our own companies, so dedicating the time, effort and energy to brand VentureTech is a little more challenging but we’re working towards that,”” said Ashlee. “”We’re hoping with our collateral this year that we’re going to be able to overcome a lot of those issues with getting the visibility out there.””

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