Ingram plans to refresh the site to reflect a newly created set of style guidelines shortly. “This is version 1.0,” Hembree says. “In a few short months, you’re going to see a noticeable change in the way it looks.”
Ingram Micro’s ONE Conference last October was the unofficial coming out party for the distributor’s IoT strategy. Since then, the company has been recruiting integrators and solution providers to join it in taking on the IoT opportunity, which IDC says will be worth $745 billion this year.
“A lot of the discussion since ONE has been having those deeper conversations with our partners and identifying the ones who are ready to build out an IoT practice,” Hembree says.
Partners who qualify have access to a variety of training resources, including Ingram’s IoT University, which offers a variety of interactive e-learning courses. “We also have a certification program,” Hembree says. “It’s three days in person. You get a breadboard and you build your own sensor on it, and then you stand it up in an IoT platform.”
Enablement programs like that are an essential precondition to building a viable, effective IoT business, Hembree notes. “You could go to market with a thousand different solutions that are flashy and have the big names backing them, but partners aren’t going to sell them if they don’t know how to,” he says.
Hembree’s team has been spreading the word about Ingram’s IoT portfolio internally as well. “As you can imagine given how big we are, that takes a lot of at-bats with a lot of repetition to drive that messaging about who we are, how we operate, what’s our go to market, and how we’re engaging with our partners.”
According to Hembree, it’s no coincidence that Ingram’s IoT marketplace debuted during the Cloud Summit event. “I don’t think that you could have IoT without cloud,” he notes, adding that the marketplace runs on Ingram’s CloudBlue platform. “Why reinvent the wheel when we can leverage what’s already been built?” he asks.
Though the marketplace doesn’t yet utilize CloudBlue’s backend invoicing functionality, that will change in the months ahead. “I would say definitely look for something this year,” Hembree suggests.
Also coming this year are joint solutions and go-to-market initiatives involving prominent but as yet unspecified IoT vendors. “You’re going to see a number of strategic partnerships that we have been working on behind the scenes with some big players,” Hembree says.