Like most distributors, Ingram Micro is in a period of continual change and development, with a new Chinese owner on the cards, and a more autonomous way of running each country business.
Brent McCarty was made UK chief executive last summer, as the firm wanted to give each country more control over its own business strategy.
CRN caught up with him and Northern Europe cloud chief Apay Obang-Oyway at the recent Ingram Cloud Live 2016 event in Bedfordshire to talk about where they think the future lies for distribution.
They were unable to comment on Ingram’s recent acquisition, but stressed it was very much business as usual for the firm.
Speaking about the day-to-day strategy, McCarty said: “Since making that move [to country CEO] I have spent a lot of time learning about our other business units. We have made several acquisitions and are getting our message to market that we are one Ingram Micro. It is very exciting.
“However, we have to keep things going on the distribution side; that is a big part of our business – in fact it is our core business – and we don’t want to ever move away from that. But our cloud business is where we are investing heavily as part of our growth strategy.”
McCarty admitted distribution is morphing, and said those changes cannot be ignored.
“Distribution is definitely changing, and we are faced with the challenges of overcoming the perception that we just offer pricing and [product] availability. How we are viewed depends on the type of customer. Some of the larger resellers only want us for pricing and availability, and that is fine, but for the mid- to small-sized customers – that is where we add significant value and show our capabilities.”
Obang-Oyway agreed: “There is a transformation happening, especially in cloud. With our cloud business we are not a distributor – that is not relevant in cloud, we are a master cloud service provider, a solution aggregator. It is important that we differentiate that part when it comes to the cloud,” he said.
“It is amazing how quickly distribution is switched off by customers. We have to work on educating them on what a new distributor looks like. There is a general term that is going to come that better describes what distributors actually can do. It is not a matter of if, but when. And competition in the distribution space is not what it used to be either.”
Obang-Oyway said it was not just distributors that are changing. "I don't think the term reseller will remain the same. They are going to be an SI, VAR, ISV, MSP all in one. It is happening."
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