Ingram Micro Speeds Up Microsoft Software Delivery
By Gina Roos
Helping to streamline sales to channel partners, Ingram Micro has launched an electronic service delivery (ESD) program that enables its partners in North America to purchase and download select Microsoft products. The ESD model is part of the distributor's new Digital Locker, which is an online software activation portal that allows channel partners to securely download and deploy Microsoft software to end users.
The initial products available through the ESD model are Microsoft Office 2013 and Windows 8 Pro Pack. Ingram Micro plans to roll out other Microsoft products through ESD as they become available. "Microsoft Office, by far, is the single biggest product that Ingram Micro sells for Microsoft, so Office products and Windows make the most sense to start with," said Jodi Honore, Ingram Micro's executive director of vendor management.
ESD has been part of Ingram Micro's road map for some time to improve delivery and get products to customers faster, said Honore. This is the right time to offer the service because consumers are increasing their time spent online and growing their confidence in digitally delivered products, she said.
Manufacturers—Microsoft and other software vendors—are moving away from a box product to digital, Honore added. "We're always reaching out to our customers to understand what will benefit them and their business, and how we can help them. It was a collaborative conversation with both the customers and the vendors," she said.
Ingram Micro's Commercial Markets Division and Microsoft Business Unit offers Microsoft OEM, retail and licensing solutions to small and midsize businesses (SMBs) and value-added reseller (VAR) partners in North America. Channel partners said the new service allows them to provide same-day service and save money on shipping, while making it easier for them and their customers to manage licenses. It also provides easy online ordering and virtually instant software delivery.
The program benefits resellers because "they don't have to carry inventory; there is no waiting for a box to arrive, and there is an immediate download of the product," said Honore. "They can rapidly execute on their customer requests."
Ingram Micro's partners saw the lower cost of sales as a "big driver" to adopt the ESD program, she added.
Digital Locker is a global initiative and available to all channel partners, said Honore. In addition to North America, Ingram Micro rolled it out to 11 countries in Europe, Australia and New Zealand, and, in the future, to other Asian countries.
Honore said Digital Locker is only one of many service enhancements that Ingram Micro plans to make to its Software Licensing Desk in 2013. "We continue to take feedback from both partners and vendors as we continue to build our capabilities," she said.
Gina Roos, a contributing writer for Channel Insider, specializes in technology and the channel.