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I found this article, published June 1, in a well known Canadian IT channel trade publication.
The article struck me in a couple of ways.
First, it was a rare direct shot from one of Ingram Micro’s largest, toughest, and most respected competitors, Tech Data. Typically, the Ingram Micro/Tech Data rivalry is very respectful. While we may disagree on strategy, course, and direction, you rarely see Ingram or Tech Data take direct shots at the other or call the other out in such an audacious manner.
We were surpirsed at the statement Greg Meyers, a VP of Marketing for Tech Data in Canada, made regarding Ingram Micro’s Seismic program. We were suprised simply because we don’t know Greg at all and he obviously was not familiar with Ingram’s managed services strategy.
The second thing about the article that struck me was that Tech Data basically admits they don’t see how distribution can add value in the largest IT growth opportunity in 20 years – managed services. Mr. Meyers states that “partners don’t want packaged services like Seismic,” and “[Tech Data's role] is facilitator. We’ll direct our customers to those who provide managed services.”
We were stunned and dumbfounded. Ingram has over 1100 reseller partners consuming some or all of our Seismic platform of managed services and private-labeling those services under their own brands. Those services provide huge margins for our vars who partake of them. Ingram (and distribution) is well positioned to bring huge value to the table to not only assist our partners in selecting managed service partners, but also procuring, provisioning, billing, hosting, and managing many of those services in a private labeled strategy. 35-50 new reseller partners per month are becoming Seismic partners – who is Tech Data speaking to when they say partners are not interested?
I would also ask Greg, whom I don’t know, have never met, and have never heard of, what does he know about Seismic? He’ll probably take the time to understand it if he reads this, but when he made the statement I would guess he had very little, if any, understanding of the Seismic strategy, our platform, our services, or how we deliver those services for our vars. Could he name 3 of the offerings? Could he describe our Seismic partner community – 1100 strong? Doubtful. Which is what made his statements so confusing to us.
Saying distribution has no value in the delivery of infrastructure-intensive services is like saying distribution has no value in the delivery of IT products. Our role in the service delivery supply chain, if executed correctly, is very similar to our value in the physical product delivery supply chain. We can help our partners go to market with a comprehensive suite of services and eliminate the complexity tranditionally involved in selecting, procuring, managing, and delivering those services…..just like we do in product distribution.
Is Greg alone in his views or does Tech Data really just not get it? Either way, I would suggest that if Tech Data’s strategy, as Greg outlines it in the article, is simply to facilitate – point vars who are looking for managed services to those who provide managed services – I will offer Seismic as a preferred partner. Tech Data can send its managed services customers to us. We have 1100 reference accounts to back us up. We’ll take good care of your customers for you, Greg.
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