NASHVILLE, TENN. – Ingram Micro introduced a new professional services program at the Ingram One show aimed at augmenting a channel partner’s services bench.
“We created this program as a virtual bench for the partners,” said Greg Richey, Ingram’s director professional services. Ingram is making available more than 500 technicians, consultants, and solution architects for solution providers under this program called Ingram Micro Professional and Training Services. One of the key parts of the program provides education and certification courses to help partners achieve a special class of expertise or to reach Platinum or Gold status with a vendor.
What the program strives to achieve is to give the reseller the ability to extend and enhance their capabilities and margin.
“Now they are capable of doing things they were not able to do before. It also makes them more relevant to the customers and the marketplace,” he said.
One of the examples Richey has recently been a part of entails a traditional VAR and a door bell. Richey said this VAR used Ingram Micro’s virtual bench for deployment contract. “They did such a good job that the customer asked them to install door bells as part of a physical security deal. Normally the partner would have said they could not do this work,” he said.
Now with Ingram’s virtual bench this VAR had those capabilities and won the deal.
Another area where Ingram professional services can step in is with larger deployments for smaller solution providers. Deals, Richey said, are getting bigger, more complex and geographically dispersed. Ingram can now service those deals along with the help of Link Portal where partners can engage directly with another partner in a region they do not serve.
Four areas of focus for the professional services area are front-end assessments for wireless, security, infrastructure and voice and video data. Some members in the channel may have the expertise in these areas, but would not have the ability to invest or renew licenses, he said.
“This can get to be expensive and its not worth it if you are only doing two deals a year,” he added.
From a margin perspective its dollars the partners would never have received, he said. With the assessment process the channel partner can now show customer where he or she is at risk if they do not upgrade. “The margin on this would be in the high double digit range plus you can add on your own professional services,” he said.
In terms of channel conflict, Richey told CDN that the channel partner dictates who they are presented to the customer. The only thing Ingram will not do is hand out business cards under the branding of the partner. “We give out our own business cards, but this is meant to be a collaboration,” he said.