Ingram Micro Partnership Adds Cisco Catalog to GSA Schedule

Distributor identifies potential $100 million revenue opportunity and eases channel partners' access to government market by creating GovEd Alliance

September 23, 2008

Alison Diana

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To simplify and streamline solution providers’ ability to sell into the lucrative government and education market, distributor Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM) recently formed an alliance with immixGovernment that enables Ingram Micro channel partners to sell the entire catalog of Cisco Systems (NASDAQ:CSCO) products through the General Services Administration (GSA) schedule.

Under terms of the arrangement, qualified Cisco solution providers can directly source their GSA business through Ingram Micro, and use the distributor’s array of complementary services such as technical support, government sales team, RFP services and financing programs, said Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram Micro government and education sales.  Ingram Micro is immixGovernment’s exclusive outsourcing partner for the Cisco GSA program, which targets all federal, state and local government clients, he noted.

“We think in the next year or so, it’s a great revenue opportunity for us, the solution providers and Immix,” said Laclede. "We think, just on the Cisco side, there’s a $100 million-worth of business, and there are also drag sales or add-on sales that would typically [generate an additional] 25, 30, 50 percent of the overall transaction. It’s a pretty decent chunk of change.”

The federal government is expected to spend more than $70 billion on IT products and services this year, increasing to $80 billion-plus by 2012, according to INPUT. Of that, about 28 percent of spending is predicted to go through GSA channels, the research firm projected.

Cisco partners that are Premier-level or above and have received GSA approval are immediately able to order Cisco product from Ingram Micro. “The resellers like to have one source for all this, and now they’ve got a really simple source. That’s the game they like,” Laclede said. “The solution providers deal with the same Ingram Micro sales teams they’re dealing with today.

“That’s one of the advantages we think we have as a broad-line distributor: They can write one purchase order, use one credit line and one source for all of the products that goes through the channel, including RMAs and shipping, which reduces the overall cost of doing business as a solution provider,” added Laclede. “After all, today solution providers are trying to decrease the number of partners they work with.”

In addition to its partnership with immixGovernment, a subsidiary of immixGroup Inc., Ingram Micro created the GovEd Alliance to encourage and simplify sales to government and education, said Jason Bystrak, senior manager of channel marketing at Ingram Micro.

The alliance, which has more than 2,300 members, was designed to help solution providers share best practices, receive strategic information, improve efficiency and drive revenue. Benefits include discounted products and manufacturer exclusives, special sales support, customized online resources, business resource discounts, RFP and GSA Pass-Through program, and peer-to-peer connections via Partner Locator and the distributor’s new Diversity Partner Net, according to Ingram Micro.

In Phase One of the ambitious project, Ingram Micro created a portal that allowed partners to complete profiles, meet and share resources, as they want. Phase Two focused on the Diversity Partner Net, unveiled last fall, allows solution providers to locate the most appropriate diverse partner for specific contracts, said Bystrak. The third phase is focusing on the largest government integrators and contractors, and the ways in which they need and locate smaller partners, said Bystrak.

“We make it really easy for those two sides to connect. If we do that well, that business should all flow back,” he said.

To further support its solution provider partners’ government sales, about 250 members of the GovEd Alliance will meet on Nov. 2 through 4 in Colorado Springs. In addition, 125 or so manufacturing partners, including Cisco, and a host of Ingram Micro executives and consultants will be on-hand to discuss business and technology issues facing government-oriented solution providers, noted Bystrak.

TAGS: support,marketing,Cisco,government,Ingram

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