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

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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November 8, 2021 |

Ingram Micro Highlights Partner Tools and Process Modernization at ONE Conference

At the distributor’s annual partner event, global technology solutions president Paul Bay (pictured) pointed to a new end-to-end lifecycle management interface for as-a-service solutions as an example of further investments in automation to come.

Hybrid cloud computing, cybersecurity, and business process automation are three of many giant opportunities in IT today, says Ingram Micro, but outdated ordering and billing systems are getting in the way of exploiting them.

“Over the last 18 months, I’ve spoken with channel chiefs, vendor CEOs, and many of you,” said Paul Bay, executive vice president and president of global technology solutions at Ingram, during the distributor’s annual Ingram Micro ONE conference this morning. “The main themes I’m hearing are that we need to modernize the systems we all use. They are too manual and too antiquated from 40 years of legacy business processes that have completely changed over the last two years of transforming within our industry.”

Both Bay’s presentation and the ONE conference, which is being held online this week, come days after the official rollout of the first in a projected series of systems aimed at addressing that feedback. Called the Flexible Subscription Engine, the new portal is designed to provide a comprehensive, heavily automated “quote to cash” interface for delivering and managing as-a-service solutions that combine cloud software and infrastructure with on-premises hardware.

“Our partners need a much easier way to sell, bill, and renew their reoccurring business,” said Bay in a conversation with ChannelPro. Those are normally separate, disconnected processes involving different backend tools, he notes.

“There’s a disconnect between the quoting, the ordering, and the invoicing, lots of swivel chair, manual processes throughout that,” Bay says, resulting in higher overhead for resellers and longer wait times for end users. “There’s also a lack of contract visibility that can create credit risk,” he adds.

The Flexible Subscription Engine is designed to eliminate those issues by providing real-time visibility across the entire subscription lifecycle through a single console. According to Bay, the new system helps partners complete processes that sometimes took days before in hours or even minutes instead. 

It also, he continues, makes combining cloud-based and physical offerings in the same solution simpler. “We’ve invested hundreds of millions of dollars in our cloud marketplace to be able to offer an aggregated solution,” Bay says. “We’re leveraging those capabilities to allow partners to work seamlessly across marketplaces and our e-commerce platforms.”

The Flexible Subscription Engine consolidates and extends previously distinct tools and services in additional ways. Subscription-based hardware financing has been available to Ingram partners as far back as 2016, for example, and a license renewal management portal named RenewVue first rolled out at the ONE conference in 2018.

“We’re taking those tools that we’ve created and we’re giving [partners] basically one seamless view across the board,” Bay says.

Ingram has further solutions aimed at streamlining manual processes in development. “We have many more engines coming,” Bay says. Capital and resources provided by Platinum Equity, the private equity investor that acquired Ingram for $7.2 billion earlier this year, is accelerating that process, he continues.

“This is an example of them understanding our strategies and wanting to help invest and accelerate,” Bay says. “I think you’ll see a continued pace of how quickly we get these engines out to our partners.”

Bay and other executives highlighted automation as a strategic priority two years ago at an earlier ONE event.

The Flexible Subscription Engine arrives at a time of accelerating demand for subscription- and consumption-based IT purchasing options. Over 80% of businesses surveyed by Deloitte earlier this year, in fact, called “everything as a service” very or critically important for their business success, and 86% called it critical to strengthening their response to business and workforce challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic. According to Bay, Ingram’s XaaS revenue reflects that trend.

“It’s growing very quickly, at a higher rate than the traditional business is growing,” he says.

Ingram’s top competitors are betting big on online tools and as-a-service offerings as well. D&H, for example, is building out an integrated XaaS platform that includes a solution configuration tool introduced in June. TD SYNNEX pointed to tool and platform investments as one of the benefits of the recently completed merger of Tech Data and SYNNEX. Value-added distributor Exclusive Networks, meanwhile, made its own XaaS platform available in the U.S. three months ago.


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