Toronto – The SMB Alliance at Ingram Micro has always played second fiddle to the VentureTech Network, but judging from the high turnout to yesterday’s conference at the Woodbine Entertainment Centre and Rack Track that may not be the case.
According to David Mason, the vice-president of sales for Canada at Ingram, almost all the vendors have trouble penetrating the SMB and the distributor has a unique opportunity to help them with this particular solution provider community that gives them the reach they are looking for. Mason said that Ingram is using several best practices from VTN and incorporating them into the SMB Alliance such as a strategic council made up of ten solution providers of which five will be from Canada.
Rita Baiana, senior manager for VentureTech Canada, said that Ingram is dedicated to growing the “S” space in SMB and established this council to become a lead voice for the vendors.
“This is not about telling the vendors what they should do. It’s more of a synergistic effort and its community led,” Mason said.
Beyond the council, the SMB Alliance may even get its own invitational conference. Baiana said that one of the goals is to increase business sharing and learning and an event would enable vendors to receive more ROI from this community. “We have done this with VTN and we want to do it for SMB Alliance,” she said.
Within the SMB Alliance, which is made up of 750 solution providers in Canada and 3,000 in the U.S., vendors such as AVG, Symantec and Cisco Systems were able to provide exclusive promotions at this event.
A company such as BenQ, which entered the market with such a splash many years ago only to fizzle out was able to re-establish a connection to this community. Also a U.S. vendor CyberPower was introduced to a new set of resellers at one time.
Baiana added that SMB Alliance has a business partner workshop and a social networking tool called the Zone that is exclusive to this group. Ingram is also working on an e-newsletter that will profile a partner success story each month.