Under the deal, Ingram will provide recruitment, business development, sales, marketing and technical services including integration for partners selling Lync and the company’s other UC products.
“Unified communications is a very strong category for Ingram Micro, we support it through our Advanced Technology Group,” said Tim Billing, vice president of vendor management for Ingram Micro Canada. “We have very strong partnerships today with industry leaders including Cisco, Avaya, Polycom and Plantronics. It’s a portfolio we’ve been building out for years, and an area where we believe we have expertise in supporting our vendor and reseller partners in Canada.”
The company has previously served as a distributor for Lync targeted on Microsoft’s Large Account Reseller (LAR) partners, but Billing said this deal expands their relationship outside the LAR space. It comes at a time when the UC market is gaining traction in the Canadian market, and when Microsoft has firmly declared that Lync is likely to be its next billion-dollar product.
“We saw significant growth in the UC market in Canada in 2012, and tremendous growth in our portfolio,” Billing said. “We’ve identified UC as one of the stronger technology opportunities in the Canadian market.”
In addition to the Microsoft software, the distributor sells supporting hardware offerings from vendors including Plantronics and Polycom, and Billing said a big part of Ingram’s role will be in defining solutions that include both hardware and software.
The first phase of the relationship is to build awareness around Lync in the channel and start recruiting partners. The company will reach out to a variety of types of partners, including existing voice, networking and UC resellers, general midmarket solution providers, Office 365 partners, and even its data centre-focused Advanced Computing partners.
From there, the distributor will turn its attention towards enablement, offering support to partners on building out proof of concepts or Microsoft’s “Customer Immersion Experience” demonstration capabilities, which provide exposure to the solution experience for both solution providers and their end user customers.
Ingram was named Microsoft’s exclusive Lync distie for Canada after a formal RFI process over the last few months.
“Microsoft is one of our most strategic partners, and their selection of Ingram Micro continues to validate our value-added solutions offerings that are coming from our Advanced Technology group,” Billing said. “It’s an exciting opportunity, and it will provide significant growth for both us and for our partners.”