Bob Bonneau, Senior Sales Manager, Advanced Technology, Ingram Micro Canada, discusses a recent Cisco award win and the keys to successful innovation.
Q: Ingram Micro Canada recently received Cisco’s Distributor of the Year award for excellence in innovation. What was that award based on?
A: We received the award for the Cisco XPerience Program, which we built collaboratively with Cisco. The program addresses an important issue for Ingram Micro’s Cisco Express Collaboration specialized partners: They struggle with selling collaboration technology because its capabilities can be complicated to convey in a traditional PowerPoint presentation. We wanted to help them help their customers understand the power of Cisco’s collaboration solution, which includes video, instant messaging, presence, mobility and unified messaging.
Q: How does the program help partners meet the challenge of showing potential customers the impact that collaboration technology can have on their business?
A: The Cisco XPerience Program gives partners a kit in a ruggedized travel case that includes all of Cisco’s collaboration gear and associated third-party technologies like laptops, tablets and phones. Just open it up and you are set with a live, functioning demonstration kit to promote the possibilities of the Cisco collaboration experience to transform business.
Q: What tells you that this innovation has struck a chord with partners?
A: The Cisco Business Unit is the largest vendor team in place here, and Cisco sees value in the structure as an operational support model and partner-facing team to execute on a recruit/enable/grow strategy for their solutions with our partners. Partner adoption has been beyond what we expected. We have more than tripled our expected volume of Cisco XPerience kits rolled out. Beyond that, while the program was built to be a catalyst for partners to demonstrate Cisco collaboration solutions to end users, our partners have found that customers have an appetite to buy and use the kit as a functional piece of technology. So we now are SKUing them up as sell-through products, which was not originally in the plan. We’re innovating on the innovation!
Q: How will Cisco Xperience spur other innovation?
A: We look at how we build programs differently now. It has opened our eyes to a different way that we can fully enable partners to be successful and grow.
Q: What’s next when it comes to bringing this program to an even wider audience, or to otherwise taking advantage of other opportunities around this setup?
A: Ingram Micro U.S. is on board with the program, so we’ve enabled a complete North American strategy. We’re looking to see if other technologies lend themselves to this setup, because we would replicate this program if we see an opportunity.
Q: What's the key to being a successful innovator?
A: The pace of change is so fast that if you take too long to make a decision and then adapt your business, you'll be looking in the rearview mirror. A successful innovator won't let that happen.