Need status information on a quote? Wondering when some hardware you ordered will arrive? Today, most partners call or email Ingram for answers, at which point Ingram contacts the vendor, the vendor contacts Ingram, and Ingram relays the requested information to its partner.
“That’s a lot of touch points—that are manual in many instances—that we need to drive collaboratively across the entire ecosystem,” Bay observes. “We’re working very hard and investing money in making sure that we have an automated process through APIs with our vendors to streamline that process.”
Indeed, Ingram is pouring millions of dollars into systems like Cisco Partner Go, a portal that resellers can use to create quotes, turn them into orders, arrange special pricing, get status updates, and even share all of that information with their Cisco account manager on a self-serve basis.
“It’s saving us potentially millions of emails and phone calls,” says Kirk Robinson (pictured), senior vice president and chief country officer for the U.S. at Ingram.
It’s also saving partners time. According to Ingram, orders that took up to eight hours to submit previously can be processed in minutes now instead. Quotes that took up to four hours to receive, meanwhile, are now ready within eight minutes, while status updates come back in seconds versus as much as 24 hours.
Encouraged by those results and enthusiastic partner feedback, Ingram plans to roll out similar tools for other vendors in 2020. “We took on Cisco first because it’s one of our largest [suppliers], and now we’re looking at who are the other vendors where we get a lot of phone calls or emails, and how can we help our partners be more automated and get their information in a much more efficient manner,” Robinson says.
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