Paul Bay kicked off the Ingram Micro One event not by unveiling any new programs or initiatives, but by emphasizing the distributor’s commitment to be on the vanguard of change in a rapidly transforming IT world.
LAS VEGAS – In the opening keynote at the Ingram Micro One event here, Paul Bay, the distributor’s Group President of the Americas, articulated their view that Ingram has successfully pivoted to meet the needs of distribution today and tomorrow.
Bay referred to his Four Cs theory — change, consolidation, consumerization, and complexity – that he laid out two years ago at this same event as issues that the channel must face over the next few years.
“The 4Cs are now more than ever moving at a more rapid pace,” Bay told the audience. “Our acquisition by Tianjin Tianhai is one aspect of this.”
Bay discussed the progression of the deal through regulatory hurdles, noting that it had received U.S. Security clearance on October 31.
“Now the doors are open to move forward,” he said. “All of you should feel comfortable as well, as you transact with the government through Ingram Micro.”
Bay also emphasized that nothing about the acquisition will change the way that Ingram Micro does business.
“Our strategy is not changing,” he said. “We are going to have the same people doing business with you today, and tomorrow, after the acquisition. The difference is that instead of a 43 billion business standing behind you, it will be a hundred billion dollar business.”
Bay did, however, stress that Ingram has been embracing change on its own, reacting to changes in the market.
“The ‘who’ is changing, as the average age of an IT decision maker is now 27, down from 35,” he said. “Consumerization is increasingly impacting the IT sales cycle, as a wave of new decision markers is moving us to the innovation end of the technology lifecycle, as they are innovators rather than risk- averse.”
Bay also said that the ‘what’ is changing as well, as the focus on what solution providers sell has fundamentally changed.
“We now sell technology where it adds value, not just on what it can do,” he said. “You need to sell your story about your role in the customer’s business outcomes – things about your IP that differentiate you that you can provide, and nobody else can.” This includes things like vertical market expertise and app development capability.
“If you are slow to invest and change direction, I may not be standing in front of you next year,” Bay stated, intimating that the laggards may be out of business. “Now is the time to make this investment in change.
“We want to be your indispensable business partner,” Bay told the audience. “Focus group work has told us that you want to see us work on things like engineering, field marketing and financing programs – not the basics of pick, pack and ship. We are doing things like bringing together super-creative financial solutions to finance your business.”
Bay also stated that the ongoing change isn’t just on the technology side.
“Change is also hitting the decision-making process,” he said. “Three years ago, 57 per cent went through the decision-making process before they pick up the phone and call you. Now, it’s between 70 and 75 per cent. It means that we need to come to market differently, changing the way we talk about technology and the way we work together.”
Bay also said that Ingram Micro has been transforming how it deals with its partners.
“We have laid the foundation and will stay the course,” he said. “We will be easier to do business with, and give a better customer experience. We will provide the right tools and resources so you can do business with the next-generation decision makers, to be a part of their business plan. You depend on us to push the line, to be a leader and to challenge the status quo. We are committed to drive success as we continue this journey together.”
Bay noted that a majority of the people in the audience hearing his statement of commitment to change were at ONE for the first time. This year, 2,015 total people are in attendance, of whom about 970 are solution providers. 1,148 of the total are new ONE attendees, who had not previously been to a ONE event before. Of these, 586 are solution providers and 389 are vendors.