Ingram Micro Inc. has quietly made concrete headway in its continuing drive to increase the breadth of offerings on its cloud marketplace while engaging more deeply with its top cloud vendors.
As ChannelPro reported earlier this year, Irvine, Calif.-based Ingram is in the midst of a strategic effort to use the Odin Automation e-commerce platform it acquired late in 2015 as the foundation for the industry’s most comprehensive cloud solutions marketplace. A collection of Odin APIs called APS is the most robust mechanism ISVs can use to link their products to that marketplace, but integrating via APS typically takes four to six months and requires direct assistance from Ingram engineers.
To help greater numbers of vendors onboard greater numbers of cloud applications more quickly, Ingram unveiled an automated API generator called APS Connect in April. When fully in production later in the year, the distributor said at the time, APS Connect would enable cloud developers to tie into Ingram’s marketplace on a self-serve basis in as little as one to three months.
In an important milestone for APS Connect, QuickBooks maker Intuit Inc., of Mountain View, Calif., has become the first company to roll out an integration produced through that system, according to Jason Bystrak, executive director of partner enablement for Ingram’s cloud unit.
Speaking with ChannelPro at the Ingram Micro ONE conference, which concluded yesterday in Grapevine, Texas, Bystrak said that approximately 15 other vendors are currently developing APS Connect tie-ins as well.
He also revealed that there’s now a third, even faster, way for software makers to add solutions to Ingram’s cloud marketplace. Called APS Connect Quick Start and quietly introduced this week, the new offering collects basic enrollment information from cloud service subscribers and saves it in a centrally-located database. The ISV can then manually import the customer’s data into their own systems from there.
“It doesn’t require any APIs,” Bystrak notes, and therefore allows vendors to get up and running on Ingram’s platform in as little as a week. Only companies that charge flat-rate fees for their products can use the new tool, however, as it can’t export consumption-based usage figures.
“It doesn’t fit every vendor,” Bystrak notes. For partners that are a fit though, he adds, APS Connect Quick Start, APS Connect, and APS provide a natural upgrade path from minimal to maximum engagement with Ingram.
The first few vendors to utilize APS Connect Quick Start will join Ingram’s cloud marketplace in December. Larger volumes are expected to follow in the first quarter of 2018.
Bystrak, who was previously head of North American cloud channel sales, stepped into his current role in July. His dual mission is to both increase the quantity of cloud vendors selling through Ingram—there are presently about 80, he says—and enhance the quality of the distributor’s relationships with its most important partners.
His team uses a sales “heat map” and custom scoring system to identify those ISVs, who receive specialized engineering assistance from Ingram developers as well as individualized three-year business plans with KPI-based goals, forecasts, and financial models.