Ingram Micro Inc. announced this week during an online Ingram ONE event that it has created an Emerging Business Group (EBG) as part of an effort to help partners better identify products and technologies that are on the cusp of mainstream adoption.
In addition, the distributor revealed it will make available later this month online training resources and has named current U.S. sales leader Tyler Coughlan to be its vice president of customer experience for the U.S. business.
Finally, Ingram Micro also announced more flexible finance terms, including 90-day first payment deferral on financing plans up to 60-months. In the U.S. and Canada, Ingram Micro is also waiving all program fees and offering 90-day payment terms on qualifying opportunities for channel partners participating in its Direct Express financing program.
EBG combines Ingram’s existing emerging vendor team with a team from its Promark Technology subsidiary that specializes in evaluating emerging technologies from vendors that are mature enough to craft a two-tier channel program involving distribution partners. EBG is being led by Eric Kohl, vice president of advanced solution for Ingram Micro in the U.S. Promark, meanwhile, will continue to focus its efforts on public sector business.
EBG is evaluating both the go-to-market strategy of the vendor as well as its product portfolio, notes Kohl.
“We have CTOs that are constantly looking for what’s next,” says Kohl.
In general, Kohl says interest in emerging technologies has increased sharply in the wake of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, IT vendors now have more appreciation for the role distributors play in enhancing their overall profitability, notes Kohl.
Ingram Micro via this new business group is trying to onboard new vendors in a way that enable them to cost-effectively start small, adds Kohl. Over time, the expectation is vendors working with EBG will grow to the point where they have a go-to-market strategy that ultimately includes hundreds of partners, says Kohl.
Much like channel partners, distributors are always weighing not the merits of partnering with a specific vendor but also the timing. Small startup vendors can also be problematic if the whole goal is for that company to be acquired before they develop a robust channel program. Once acquired, whatever channel program they did have in place tends to be subsumed into an organization that usually already has an extensive channel in place.
Picking the next bigger winner in the channel is never a sure thing. However, any effort that provides additional insight into how to handicap emerging IT vendors more reliably can only benefit channel partners.