Ingram Micro has announced an application service provider (ASP) strategy that it will launch in the US by the first quarter of 2001. It also plans to launch a specialist high-end networking division in the UK this year.
At the distributor's VentureTech Network conference, Kevin Murai, president of US operations, said the distributor had seen clear advantages in hooking up with ASPs and was currently "identifying key partners for strategic alliances".
"ASPs and infrastructure providers are looking to the channel for help," he said. "Even though a lot of these guys are not offering physical product, they face the same go-to-market challenges as someone who does."
A similar announcement will inevitably be made in the UK, said Greg Lockton, Ingram UK's senior director of marketing and business development.
"The UK ASP market is about a year behind the US because of communication costs, so we will take our lead from the telecoms companies and then act quickly," he said. "ASPs will take a chunk of the market when this happens, and I would have to advise resellers to be nimble. If you want to compete with the largest players, there is a chance resellers will have to make the change [to an ASP], but I believe there will always be room for guys in the traditional model."
In addition, Ingram has added a high-end networking division to its UK operations through its relationships with Intel, 3Com and D-Link.
Meinie Oldersma, vice president at Ingram UK, said at present the company has no plans to add networking giants Nortel or Cisco to its product portfolio, and will not make plans until the division matures. A networking director to manage the new division is also yet to be appointed.
Clive Hailstone, general manger at Computer 2000, said he found it hard to take Ingram's new division seriously without deals in place with either Cisco or Nortel. "There is very little credibility in offering a high-end networking product without the two largest networking companies," he said.
Ingram US also announced plans to install an agency model that will allow the distributor to bill end-users directly on behalf of resellers. An equivalent scheme, Select Source, has already been running in the UK since May.
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