Ingram Micro has added new features to its cloud marketplace for partners who offer Microsoft Azure solutions or sell licenses through Microsoft’s New Commerce Experience (NCE).
The enhanced functionality, which is available now, is designed to bring the “next layer of automation” to previously manual processes, according to John Dusett, the distributor’s executive director of U.S. cloud services.
New NCE billing capabilities, for example, allow partners to synchronize anniversary dates for easier renewal timing by “co-terming” new licenses with existing ones. Users can also automate and schedule activities like renewals and adding or removing licenses in advance. NCE, Dusett notes, relies heavily on fixed expirations and other time-dependent requirements that make tracking dates and completing tasks on time critical.
“In a structure like that, managing transactions becomes more important to a partner, and we wanted it to not become more burdensome,” he says.
Partners can implement partial license upgrades impacting only a portion of an end customer’s users now as well. New NCE promotions functionality provides real-time, centralized visibility into Microsoft’s latest offers, and automates the signup process. According to Dusett, consolidating and filtering information otherwise scattered across multiple emails in that manner is a service that distributors like Ingram have long performed for their resellers.
“We sort through those to make sure that we understand the ones that are the most relevant to them, and then ensure that they’re aware and taking advantage of them,” he says.
Ingram has also added new Azure usage billing reports designed to help partners streamline billing reconciliation by providing easier access to real-time consumption data and cost projections. Users can schedule those reports to run automatically and draw on integrations with widely used PSA solutions to further accelerate the reconciliation process.
Ingram’s cloud marketplace integrates with ConnectWise PSA (formerly ConnectWise Manage), Datto’s Autotask PSA, and Syncro’s PSA solution, among other systems, at present. Additional integrations will arrive soon, according to Dusett, who declined to specify the products involved.
All of Ingram’s latest marketplace enhancements reflect partner input on especially time-consuming, labor-intensive workflows, Dusett says. “We listen carefully for what they spend a lot of time doing.”
Ingram has been steadily adding similar features in the months since it finished integrating its cloud platform with NCE last February.
“Over the last year, you’ve seen a lot of work that we did in areas like integrations,” Dusett notes, citing Adobe as an example of a vendor other than Microsoft affected by those efforts.
“We built in automation to bring in a broader suite of capabilities with what used to be very manual processes, and automating not just the ability to quote and provision, but the ability to really build some complex solutions for end customers,” he says.
More such enhancements, involving Microsoft and other cloud vendors, will continue to arrive this year, Dusett adds.
“Our goal has been to make it easier to do business with us through our platform than it is even to go direct,” he says.