Ingram Micro Inc. has introduced new programs that let its partners outsource project management duties, collect commissions for driving customers to the distributor’s end user education courses, and provide introductory-level sales and technical training to newly hired employees.
The three offerings, which were unveiled at the Ingram Micro ONE conference currently underway in Grapevine, Texas, are the latest manifestations of the Irvine, Calif.-based company’s ongoing campaign to help traditional product resellers make the difficult transition to providing professional services and cloud-based solutions instead.
“I understand how painful it is to build a services business within a transactional organization,” said Paul Bay, Ingram’s group president and executive vice president for the Americas, during a morning keynote yesterday. Making the effort is imperative though, he continued, because partners who don’t could find themselves out of business three to five years from now as revenue from sales of packaged hardware and software continues to slip.
“We’re relying on legacy products too much to drive growth,” Bay said.
The new “project management-as-a-service” offering Ingram officially rolled out this week is one way the distributor is helping resellers make services their primary source of growth instead. The program allows resellers to draw on Ingram’s in-house team of project management professionals for temporary assistance with tasks like plan development, timeline management, and resource coordination. All services are provided on a white-label basis.
“From a partner’s perspective, it’s to and through them,” says Greg Richey, director of training and professional services at Ingram Micro. “Their customer need not know it’s our person.”
Fees for the service are based on a case-by-case assessment of variables like project complexity and type, timeframe, and customer location. Partners that need help with a series of closely-related projects, like rolling out a point of sale solution at multiple retail outlets, can get flat-rate pricing as well. More often than not, partners will pass those expenses along to their clients.
According to Richey, the new offering originated with mounting requests from resellers for project oversight assistance.
“They’re coming to understand that this is a critical piece to the success of any project of size,” he says. “They started asking for it and we began to provide it.”
The service is especially useful for small, SMB-focused partners who suddenly land a services engagement involving hundreds of seats.
“That’s where they struggle, and they can dip right into us to provide those services for them,” Richey says. “As the reseller partner, you look good,” he continues. “You’ve got all the answers to the questions that they have, and you keep it on track.”
The new service is the latest in a string of “as-a-service” programs from Ingram, which introduced an on-demand courseware development offering for vendors earlier this month and expanded a subscription-based hardware purchasing program first unveiled in 2016 earlier this year.
The new training affiliate program is a low-overhead way for partners to profit from user education services. Free to join, it pays partners commissions varying from seven to 10 percent every time they successfully encourage a customer to enroll in one of Ingram’s end user training classes.