From The Editor | May 21, 2009

Inside Ingram Partner Connection Summit Day #2

Edit Gennifer Biggs Inside The ConnectWise Event - Chicago Editor Gennifer Biggs is live from the Ingram Partner Connection Summit in Hollywood, FL, starting Wednesday, May 20. She'll bring you insight from Ingram executives, channel partners, and a wide array of vendor partners.

Day #2: Strategic Guidance For VARs

With more than 200 VARs on hand, the goal of Ingram’s Partner Connection Summit is clearly opening the eyes of its guests to opportunity—not only what can be found through partnership with Ingram, but also that which can be found in new or evolving technologies.

Several presentations during Day #2 focused on where Ingram has identified growth, certain technology categories such as digital signage, content management, security, virtualization, and managed services.

I had the opportunity to chat with three of the Ingram presenters tasked with sharing their industry knowledge and market opportunities with attending VARs. First, Chris Squier, a technology solutions engineer, addressed the opportunities related to security—namely, government markets being pushed forward with federal stimulus funding. Squier explained to me what he and other technology solutions engineers strive to do. “We serve as strategic advisors to our VARs in the channel and help them build technology practices around the strategic market opportunities we identify,” says Squier. His presentation to VARs included advice on how to take advantage of the movement in the security space being fueled by new security mandates from the federal government—both within government and within industries regulated by the government, such as healthcare.

Check out Squier's advice for VARs

Tom Jones, also a technology solutions engineer, specializes in content management and digital signage, and healthcare was a part of his message as well. “The stimulus funding around electronic medical records (EMR) is spurring a new interest in that,” says Jones. He added that ECM VARs are also learning to look at converging technologies that surround healthcare installations—such as storage, security, and wireless. To do that, Ingram recommends a VAR take advantage of either its vendor relationships to identify good vendor partners or fellow VARs with an expertise in those areas that are interested in partnership. Jones also presented on the opportunity around digital signage, which he believes has reached its tipping point and will become prevalent this year.

Listen to what Jones' had to say to VARs

For those VARs interested in expanding or even just experimenting with services, Jason Beal, director of services sales, had news: Don’t build out your practice, partner with Ingram. “We want to enable our VARs through strategy and education,” explains Beal. “Part of that effort happens here, where we work very hard to let them know all the resources available to them through us.” For example, Beal talked to attendees about the advantages of using Ingram’s Services Network, a community of about 800 VARs that have signed with Ingram to partner with other VARs in a non-compete, confidential relationship that allows VARs to offer services outside their expertise and/or geographic reach. He also presented them with the portfolio of vetted vendors and products organized under Ingram’s Seismic offering, all geared to helping managed services providers pick the right tools and vendor partners.

Listen to what Jason told VARs about services support

Oh, and I did take a few minutes to chat with James Serra, senior distribution account manager with Ricoh, about the nifty little printer Hot Spot that Richoh had set up at this event. Sure enough, after emailing my media agenda Excel sheet to the printer--it has its own email address--a few seconds later, I could print. The offering is secure, I couldn't print until I punched in the security code the printer email back to me; and Serra explained that while the printer will hold your documents for 48 hours, it will then delete the file out of its network, the same action it takes after you print. Want to learn more, check out Ricoh's website.