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By Gina Roos

Ingram Micro has expanded its General Services Administration Schedule to include Cisco’s entire portfolio of channel-focused technology offerings. The GSA Schedules program gives federal agencies access to commercial supplies and services.

“Cisco has always been a key partner for Ingram Micro,” said Michael Humke, executive director of U.S. Public-Sector and Vertical Markets. “This gives us additional routes to market, leveraging a GSA contract.”

The expanded partnership with Cisco gives channel partners access to Cisco’s entire portfolio. Channel partners with a GSA contract may not be authorized to carry the Cisco line, but through Ingram Micro, they have access to Cisco solutions and some networking and services support, said Humke. Additionally, channel partners without a GSA Schedule can leverage Ingram Micro’s GSA contract, through an agent agreement, to support a customer in the public sector, he added.

The acquisition of Promark, a value-added distributor (VAD) with a focus on data storage, data management and electronic document-imaging products and services, gave Ingram Micro entry into the GSA Schedules program in 2012. Channel partners have access to the distributor’s Solution Centers, the Experience Center and its Public Sector Elite (PSE) partner community.

The federal market is a very tough market right now, said Humke. “It’s financially constrained, and channel partners are forced to offer deeper solutions that focus on key needs for the market—whether its virtualization, cloud offerings, storage capabilities, mobility or collaboration,” he added. “Those are all solutions that can lower cost and improve return on investment.

“GSA is one piece of what we’re trying to build in the public sector, but it is a big piece because it provides partners with both GSA and non-GSA contracts—a route to market to support their efforts across that community.”

Ingram Micro’s GSA Schedule program also includes products from other leading hardware, networking, security, software, systems and storage vendors.

Another key part of the company’s federal program is collaboration among partners, through its PSE community, according to Humke. “This is a very complex and compliance-driven market, and not every partner is strong in virtualization, cloud services, networking support or compliance reviews,” he pointed out.

PSE partners have a footprint in state, local, education (SLED) and federal markets, and each partner signs up with an area of expertise. Currently, Ingram Micro has about 75 PSE partners and has a goal to reach 200 to 300 partners.

“The goal is to allow partners to team up and land an opportunity that they might have had to pass on because they don’t have all the expertise required to support a customer,” said Humke. “By working together, leveraging the Public Sector Elite community, it will allow them to go to the customer with one solution. It builds out a partner’s portfolio, allows them to extend their reach and increases their value to the customer.”

Providing partners with a noncompetitive contract avenue “is a very big component in our commitment to them,” Humke concluded. Ingram Micro also is supporting its partner community through a newly announced diversity partner program.

Gina Roos, a Channel Insider contributing writer, specializes in technology and the channel.