As 330-plus members of Ingram Micro’s VentureTech Network reseller community gather in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. for their first invitational of the year, there are some outside eyes watching. Representatives of the distributor’s operations from Latin America and the U.K. are on hand this week, looking at the North American reseller community and seeing if it might not be applicable in their markets.
VentureTech, commonly known amongst members as VTN, launched in the U.S. in 1998, and expanded into Canada shortly thereafter, making it the first of the distributor-backed and SMB-focused reseller groups to launch, and the first to launch across national borders. Now, Ingram is clearly looking at replicating the model in other parts of the world.
“They’re here to talk about the expansion of VTN. It’s very likely you’ll see this community go international,” said Mark Snider, general manager of Ingram Micro Canada.
The timing is good for VTN to go international. As it celebrates its 15-year anniversary, the group certainly has a track record for building a community, fostering partner-to-partner relationships and business, and getting the vendor community actively involved.
“With the foundation we have here, it will ramp very quickly when we go international,” Snider predicted.
It also helps that there are familiar faces heading up the distributor’s operations in the two regions. Ingram Micro Latin America president John Soumbaskis is familiar with the group from his time as vice president of specialty solutions for the distributor’s North American business, while Brent McCarty, executive managing director for Ingram Micro U.K, was active in the group as the company’s vice president of VAR sales for Canada.
The move comes as the group continues its evolution from a community that is defined and clearly led by its distributor host, to one that is much more run by the members for the members, with the distributor as facilitator and something of a guide.
In recent years, VTN has introduced MasterMinds groups, which bring the Heartland Tech Groups concept of an outsourced board of directors of your peers to the business owners in the community. More recently, the group has introduced a series of special interest groups – Women in IT, Operational Excellence, Cloud, Marketing, Sales Management, and Staff Certification – aimed at extending the reach of the reseller community beyond executives and into the rank-and-file sales, marketing, and technical staff of member solution providers.
The group has also rolled out a new member portal, with more in-depth member profiles and new tools to facilitate partner-to-partner connections, including a secured SharePoint site, and new online homes for all of the new VTN special interest groups.