Ingram Micro Canada's Joe Graci offers five tips to help VARs get a mobile business up and running
SPONSORED CONTENT – The growth in mobility and its convergence with the IT channel (rather “integration”) has raised a new business requirement for VARs who want to profit from this growth – setting up a mobility business practice.
But where do you start? How does it align with your current business, customer needs, and systems/support process framework?
How do you work together with wireless carriers and vendors to profit from the growth of broadband devices, services, and applications?
These are all questions that Ingram Micro (Canada) needed to answer before it set up its Wireless & Mobility division.
The following steps were employed to get Ingram Micro started:
- Resource the business. Mobility is not just another “sku”; it requires a deep understanding of the mobility ecosystem and its unique requirements. You need to have an in-house business champion that will dedicate at least 50 to 75 per cent of their time to get the business started with the intention to increase that to 100 per cent within six months. Ingram Micro’s Mobility division was created almost 2 ½ years ago with this time allocation. Within 18 months we grew the division to six people, all dedicated and all specialized.
- Create a business plan. It doesn’t need to be extravagant. The simpler, the better. Starting with one product/service concept and selling it internally & externally allows you get some momentum, set clear messages, and create focus. Ingram Micro started this with its Partner Activation Program which allows VARs to activate any embedded notebook on the Bell, TELUS, or Rogers networks while earning commissions. While this program is now greatly expanded, it started out simple.
- Partnerships are important. You’ll need to establish partnerships with Wireless Carriers, mobility divisions within Vendor communities (probably not the contacts you have today), and perhaps with each other (based on capabilities) to create solution offerings for your customers. The good news is Ingram Micro already did this for you. Partner with us and we’ll help you partner with everyone else.
- Create a solution offering. Talk to your customers to understand their mobility needs. What obstacles do they have? Do they have a mobility strategy and what is it? How much do they spend on mobile services for their business, if any? When Ingram Micro spoke to VARs, the message was clear: Provide us with the broadest range of products & services and make it easy for us. We heard this message loud and clear and that led to our creation of our Activation portal. Ingram Micro’s Activation portal makes it very easy to activate an embedded device on the Wireless Carrier’s. We also went secured the widest assortment of tablets, eBook readers, and accessories for our customers and expanded our capabilities in our configuration centre to support large deployments.
- Support the business. Okay, so you have the plan, the relationships, and the solutions. This ties back into resourcing, but you need to take it a step further and focus on training, development, and process management. Be sure to have specialized support teams in place that truly understand your mobility offering and how to best support the customer.
So there you have it – five steps to get you started. And if you would like a consultation to ensure your plan is on track, feel free to contact us.
Stay tuned next month as we discuss the interesting tablet market and how to play it.
Joe Graci is divisional leader for wireless and mobility at Ingram Micro Canada. Guest blogs like this are part of ChannelBuzz.ca’s annual sponsorship packages. Find out more here.