“GigaOm and Ingram Micro work with partners to drive strategic growth and deliver more value to technology buyers. GigaOm goes beyond technology to enable partners to better connect technology solutions with customers’ business operating models, people and process organizational maturity, and transformational aspirations.
“Before GigaOm, partners were challenged to access this level of go-to-market positioning and messaging, strategic roadmap advice, and sales enablement. Ingram Micro and partners have benefited tremendously from the great strategic advice, research, and sales enablement produced by GigaOm.”
–Karl Connolly, technologist and field CTO at Ingram Micro.
Ingram Micro is one of the world’s largest distributors of IT systems and services, with operations in 61 countries and reaching nearly 90% of the world’s population. Ingram Micro works with 1,500 original equipment manufacturer (OEM) vendor partners and 170,000 technology solution provider customers across the cloud, AI, data, infrastructure, security, storage, and networking. Ingram Micro’s mission is to enable technology channel partners to accelerate growth, run better and more profitably, and deliver more value for their customers—business and technology decision-makers.
Ingram Micro turned to GigaOm to enable its reseller and OEM partners to drive strategic growth by connecting their technology solutions to the strategic operational business models, organizational maturity, and transformation goals of customer organizations.
Karl Connolly is technologist and field CTO at Ingram Micro. He says the relationship with GigaOm provides unique value to Ingram Micro’s channel-focused business.
“GigaOm understands customers’ motivations so they can help partners better connect their technology solutions to how customers run their business,” says Connolly. “Ingram Micro is a big brand that is recognized, but is one step removed from the end customer by nature of its channel-focused business model. Its capabilities are not necessarily understood or known to end customers and resellers—gaining the voice and trust of end customers always takes place via an Ingram Micro reseller.”
Figure 1. Karl Connolly, Technologist and Field CTO, Ingram Micro
The goal was to help end-user organizations make better-informed technology choices to enable their businesses, explains Connolly. “The list of choices of technology solutions available to a customer can be daunting, and with each vendor competing for said customer, informed decisions can be clouded by misrepresentation, ambiguity, and partner preference.”
Ingram Micro understood that to get a clearer picture of a customer’s business and operational model requires organizational people, process maturity, and transformational aspirations. A better understanding of how to engage with end-user organizations would positively impact Ingram Micro, vendor, and partner sales revenue.
The company has worked with analyst firms before, including IDC, Gartner, and Forrester. However, as Ingram Micro developed its go-to-market approaches and channel sales strategies, it saw GigaOm’s business and technical practitioner-led approach, covering C-level leaders, architects, and engineers, as a major asset.
“GigaOm’s advisors are experienced strategists, practitioners, and engineers who have been IT buyers and consumers,” explains Connolly. “This unique perspective provides us with the ‘voice of the customer,’ allowing us to connect technology solutions to C-level, line of business, and architect business value-centric strategy based on customer’s operational business models, organizational maturity, and transformation goals, which has proven instrumental in shaping our go-to-market strategy.”
GigaOm’s unique position as a C-level, line of business, architect, and engineer practitioner-led advisory, research, and enablement company, along with its voice-of-the-customer understanding, enables it to present technology in a way end-user organizations can connect with.
“GigaOm helps us and our partners make the case to end users for adoption of a technology area based on brand or specific product by being the voice of the customer,” says Connolly. “The research and insights enable informed decisions based on experience, testing, and unbiased assessment from the end user perspective. We are afforded opinions, perspectives, and facts that aren’t attainable from other firms, or from end users directly.”
GigaOm sees research as a tool to enable stakeholders on all sides: Vendors and partners understand how to talk to customers better, and end-users become better equipped to decide between complex offerings. It was this flexible approach that brought Ingram Micro and GigaOm together.
Figure 2. GigaOm and Ingram Micro Engagement Model
Aspects of GigaOm’s offering align with Ingram Micro’s vision, strategy, and approach, not least GigaOm’s brand value and partnership approach. “GigaOm has built a good solid brand and has credibility, and the DNA of the company fits with ours on channel partners,” says Connolly.
“We particularly appreciate GigaOm’s strong connections with many of the OEMs supported by Ingram Micro. This synergy has further enhanced the value of their insights for our business,” says Connolly. “We and our partners can also generate revenue with GigaOm by reselling GigaOm research and services to end-user customers; that is a unique capability.”
Solution and Approach
The partnership between Ingram Micro and GigaOm has been directly targeted at relationship building and enabling the company to engage in more strategic conversations about technology solutions. To kick things off, GigaOm CTO Howard Holton presented to Ingram Micro solution architects covering strategic areas such as CAPEX to OPEX.
These customer-led perspectives helped solutions teams better understand how to connect with OEM vendors based on a balanced perspective of their offerings. “Having an unbiased expert in Howard is invaluable,” says Connolly. “Often, teams are informed by the vendor, which can be limiting.”
As a result of the engagement, the Ingram Micro team gained a firmer foundation for discussing solutions with vendors and solution providers, enabling them to better drive customer conversations.
In addition, GigaOm participated in several conversations across multiple service providers and other partner firms, including T-Mobile, Betacom, and Otava. The goal was to develop effective business and technical enablement and sales strategies with customers based on their industry vertical, with C-level, line of business, architect, and engineer positioning, messaging, benchmarking, market evaluation, and cost analysis services from C-level to engineer. “GigaOm’s openness and willingness to build custom engagements for the partner was very well received, with the right set of assets delivered,” says Connolly.
Overall, GigaOm’s engagement with Ingram Micro enabled the company to hone its strategies and sales plays based on the language of the customer. “GigaOm’s service of advisory and validation is a step above what its peers provide. The value of the advisory, coming from the vantage point of one who has done it, is more compelling than that of one who has studied or read up on a subject,” says Connolly.
Not only this, but the interaction helped Ingram Micro identify new opportunities within its partner portfolio. A specific example is Betacom: “GigaOm was the reason Ingram Micro became aware of Betacom, which is becoming a strategic partner for Ingram Micro in the 5G and industrial manufacturing space,” says Connolly. Manufacturing and Operational Technology (OT) is undergoing rapid digital transformation and is a relatively new industry vertical for Ingram Micro—an unexpected benefit was from GigaOm’s Holton, who had previously worked and consulted at major industrial companies.
“Our advanced solutions team leveraged Howard’s operational business insight and strategic expertise to gain understanding of the manufacturing and OT buyer across real world insights, considerations, and buying process advice. This helped the team get informed and prepared for partner meetings and our MxD partnership.”
GigaOm’s research and insights have directly impacted growth for Ingram Micro and its partners, says Connolly. “GigaOm services enable driving increased share of wallet by promoting more of what Ingram Micro offers to its partners in product, services, and solutions.”
Connolly says this direct benefit emanates from several factors:
Thought leadership: “An advisory company like GigaOm that has a consumer community consisting of tech and business influencers is a good way to be seen as thought leaders. GigaOm can potentially help buyers understand their options as it pertains to a new concept, program, or technology to support their operating model and transformation goals.”
Credibility & people cost savings: “GigaOm can help less mature or cost-conscious partners gain consulting capabilities without the need to staff CIOs, field CTOs, architects, and engineers in-house that could cost upward of $1 million dollars, instantly providing credibility across a broad domain of markets, services, and solutions.”
Independence: “GigaOm can act as a symbiotic extension to a partner, as it has no desire or aspiration to become a VAR and is purely there to help the partner uncover more opportunity.”
Opportunity: “GigaOm insights enable partners and Ingram Micro to stay current on macro themes and the OEMs filling those spaces, which has tangential and heretofore unmeasured value.”
Content: “Candid feedback on some of the materials and presentations we gave has been helpful in shaping how future content can be crafted and delivered to better connect with customer’s business operating model, organizational maturity and transformation goals.”
Ingram Micro and GigaOm will continue to build on the current success with individual partners and customers, and Ingram Micro will use the GigaOm partnership to further its position with service providers. “GigaOm will aid our partners to better connect with customers, gain visibility and mindshare in the market, specifically as we engage with our MNO and private network provider partners who can use enablement research and advisory services from GigaOm to become better known as leaders in a specific area, such as private 5G or connected workers,” says Connolly.
And what about Ingram Micro? “Beyond additional sales opportunities and new partnerships, our relationship with GigaOm can inform our portfolio and the solutions we offer our partners, elevating us beyond the traditional role that distribution plays.”