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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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April 17, 2017 |

Ingram Micro Adds Cisco Spark to its Cloud Marketplace

The deal makes Ingram Micro the first distributor authorized to sell Cisco’s integrated telephony, messaging, and conferencing solution through a cloud solution storefront.

Cisco Systems Inc., of San Jose, Calif., has made Ingram Micro Inc. the first distributor authorized to offer the Cisco Spark collaboration suite through its cloud solution marketplace.

Effective today in the U.S., with other geographies to follow in coming months, Ingram Micro resellers can order, provision, bill, and manage Cisco Spark deployments through the same online portal they use to consume other cloud-based services.

“It really brings ease and simplicity to our reseller partner,” says Renee Bergeron, senior vice president for the global cloud channel at Ingram Micro, which is headquartered in Irvine, Calif.

Resellers can offer Spark to their clients on a self-serve basis as well via the Ingram Micro Cloud Store, she adds. Introduced last April, that offering gives end users direct access to the distributor’s entire catalog of software-as-a-service products via a customizable, white label interface.

Subscription fees for Spark are about the same whether users buy it from Cisco or through distribution.

“The pricing strategy ensures that there’s parity, and that a channel partner’s not at a disadvantage,” Bergeron states.

The Spark platform includes integrated functionality for telephony, messaging, and videoconferencing. According to Bergeron, partners can utilize it as the foundation for sophisticated, industry-specific communication offerings.

“You can really get away from a simple, SKU-type of sale, or commoditized sale, and really build a business solution around it, which is what generally provides the highest margin,” she says. Resellers can earn recurring revenue for managing Spark environments as well, she adds.

Ingram Micro will make sales and technical training for Spark available to its partners, along with on-demand technical support.

“We’re trained by Cisco to take any support issue, and should we not have the knowledge to respond to the issue, then we escalate, and Cisco stands by us,” Bergeron says.

The deal announced today benefits Ingram Micro and Cisco alike, she continues. Ingram Micro, for its part, gains a powerful new solution that fills a gap in its cloud solution roster.

“It’s basically the first solution that we bring on our marketplace that can combine the business messaging apps, the conferencing solutions, as well as the phone systems all into one,” Bergeron says.

Cisco, meanwhile, gains new routes to market for Spark, including Ingram Micro’s vast cloud reseller channel and the many third-party operators of cloud marketplaces based on the Odin service automation platform. According to Bergeron, those include roughly one-third of the world’s largest telecommunications providers. Ingram Micro acquired the Odin platform from Bellevue, Wash.-based Parallels IP Holdings GmbH late in 2015.

Though Ingram Micro is the first distributor to offer Spark through an online marketplace, it will not be the only one, according to Julie Hens, vice president of worldwide distribution channels at Cisco.

“Those agreements and discussions are currently in the works,” she says.

Also in development is the addition of further Cisco solutions to Ingram Micro’s cloud product portfolio.

“We’ll certainly have a pipeline and a roadmap of additional cloud offers as we move down the road,” Hens says.

Today’s news arrives on the eve of Ingram Micro’s Cloud Summit event, which begins Wednesday in Phoenix. ChannelPro will have complete coverage of that conference throughout the week.


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