Ingram Micro Points VARs to Government Market

Distributor's new program matches large system integrators with VARs who can help them fulfill government contract requirements. Future growth predicted in education and government IT markets.

November 4, 2008

Al Senia

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Distributor Ingram Micro (NYSE:IM) sees growing opportunities for channel partners in the government and education IT markets and has rolled out a new System Integrator Support Program at its GovEd Alliance VAR conference in Colorado.

Bob Laclede, vice president and general manager of Ingram's GovEd Sales, said the channel partners have a real opportunity in fulfilling subcontracts from large system integrators and contractors who need "diversity partners" to fill government contract requirements. Such "diversity partners" include small businesses run by women, minorities, veterans and others. Diversity partners obtain special certification from the federal government that allows for contract fulfillment.

"We have 300 diversity partners in our GovEd program," said Laclede. "We've got a massive number of partners that can help the system integrators and prime contractors fulfill these requirements." To accomplish this, he added, the integrators need specialized resources from supply chain partners to manage the large contracts and execute complicated projects. The new program acts as a bridge between the solution providers and VARs.

In the past, Ingram Micro formed a Diversity Partner Network within its GovEd Alliance that sorts the VARs by specialty, geography and specific diversity. The new System Integrator Support Program includes such enhancements as IT staffing solutions, integration services, asset disposition services, help desk services, customized logistics options, and both formal and informal options to leverage the Diversity Partner Network.

Laclede explained that system integrators and prime contractors can tap into the program to match the profiles of Gov Ed VARs "including those with small and diverse business certifications." Ingram Micro then can act as a single point-of-contact for the integrators and act as a back-end partner when necessary.

Laclede noted that there are many opportunities for channel partners to grow revenue in the government and education markets despite the current slowdown. He noted that the higher education IT market has grown more than 11 percent so far this year with mobile applications and campus emergency alert systems especially promising. He also believes distance learning will emerge as "the next killer app."

The K-12 education market, on the other hand, has grown just 3 percent this year, although there are growing opportunities that involve connecting to parents through technology, as well as IP surveillance solutions that focus on physical security and the move toward placing more curriculum online and on video.

"The problem is, state and local governments and the primary education market are impacted by the soft economy, and we starting to see that," Laclede said.

He expects federal government IT spending  to continue to grow because of growing compliance and mandate requirements. Federal IT spending has grown 5.3 percent this year.

He added that state and local government IT spending is also up 5 percent, thanks mainly to the increasing popularity of SaaS; server virtualization and data center consolidation; and "green IT" initiatives by many states.

"The CIOs are looking for cost savings," Laclede explained. "Go in with the right solution situation, and they are willing to listen to you."

(Al Senia is managing editor of ITChannelPlanet.com.)

TAGS: virtualization,SaaS,government,distributor,Ingram

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