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Why Ingram Micro built its own custom Integration Center

Q&A with Ryan Grant, Ingram Micro’s executive director of advanced solutions

April 13, 2020

Why Ingram Micro built its own custom Integration Center

Ingram Micro’s custom Integration Center opened in 2018 and offers everything from system design to compatibility and regulatory engineering. We recently asked Ryan Grant, Executive Director, Advanced Solutions at Ingram Micro, for more details on how the center serves our partners today and how it might evolve in the future.

Q&A

What was the purpose behind the Integration Center?
It ties back to a growth we’re seeing in IT and the explosion of data we’re seeing and the demand that’s putting on IT infrastructure. More and more customers come to us for very purpose-driven, custom IT infrastructure to support different ways they’re using the data. Whether it’s supporting IoT or it could be artificial intelligence, the proliferation of data has really driven a higher demand in the marketplace for a very workload-centric type of IT infrastructure with very specific software applications. So that’s created this need for our partners and end customers to come up with a non-off-the-shelf solution.

How have our channel partners received it so far?
It’s been really positive. Where customers have really seen the upside is the speed to market versus them doing it on their own. The second thing is the positive financial impact it’s having, because all those materials that we’re building for them are Ingram-owned, so it’s actually freeing up working capital for the customer. The third thing that has been really well received is the operational processes and the quality checks we’ve implemented within the facility, along with the talent that we have there. Customers have been extremely impressed and are finding it is better for them to leverage Ingram Micro vs. doing it in house.

Has raising awareness about the center been a challenge?
Ingram Micro’s offerings are seemingly endless, and it’s hard for partners to absorb it all. With this facility, we’re building servers, appliances, client machines—from the ground up. We’re taking empty chassis, and integrating CPUs, hard drives, and loading software, and many customers and vendors are not aware of the level of capability Ingram Micro offers around hardware integration. The challenging part is truly getting customers and vendors to understand our in-depth capabilities. In 2020 we are really focused on building out our marketing content with a comprehensive digital strategy that helps our ecosystem truly understand our capabilities. This content includes customer videos, virtual tours, and in-depth process/quality samples which will enable a better understanding of what we offer.

How do you envision the future of the Integration Center?
We’re just scratching the surface. The demands of our end customers are going to put more pressure on our partners, and they’re going to need to come to us to build out that infrastructure. As Ingram Micro grows with this demand, we’ll get into more complex racks and appliances, and that’ll have us outgrowing the current facility, getting into a bigger facility and hiring more people. It’s definitely going to grow, because the demand is there. It’s just a matter of what types of solutions we put through there. That’s the beauty of the facility—it doesn’t just handle traditional racks and appliances. Anything a customer needs integration for, we can support it.

Would you say the center is a reflection of the state of the industry?
The Industry movement is turning this center into more of a requirement for our partners. It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a need-to-have given where the market is going, and customers can look to Ingram to support that infrastructure.