Ingram Micro India Pvt Ltd (IMIL) is a subsidiary of Ingram Micro Inc, USA. Established in 1979, IMIL today is one of the top IT Distribution companies in India with nationwide presence at nearly 40+ locations. Ingram Micro Inc (the parent company of IMIL) is the world’s largest technology distributor, providing sales, marketing and logistics services for the IT industry worldwide. In an interaction with NCN, Mr. Navdeep Narula, Executive Director – Mobility Compute and IoT, Ingram Micro India, shares about changes in the distribution system, their company’s focus on mobility and IoT solutions, computing systems.
Explain the emerging trends in the distribution business.
Before 2020, the distribution sector was developing at its own pace. However, the pandemic crisis has pushed a large number of changes in the business model that have made it more effective and future-proof. Tech distribution houses are now clearly focusing on raising the bar on automation, efficiency & customer experience, particularly within the supply chain, as a result of the post-pandemic effect. Partners’ inclination toward a higher degree of self-service and on-demand information expectations has led to B2B e-commerce platforms. We have had a highly successful transformation to IMEcom – specially designed to offer a comprehensive spectrum of self-served technology products for B2B partners. We also have our services marketplace called Ingram Micro Link, which provides our reseller partners 24×7 access to a comprehensive range of IT services throughout the technology lifecycle. Distribution companies now use digital technology to focus on key competitive advantages and use technology even more by delivering value through an omnichannel presence that includes not just e-commerce but also business consultation, industry forums & specialised vertical solutions through a broader supplier base. In a nutshell, we are now migrating from e-commerce to ecosystem-commerce.
Discuss the role played by Ingram in changing trends of the distribution landscape in India.
Ingram Micro continues to expand its footprint around the world & in India with a task force that constantly identifies newer opportunities in order to remain future-ready. We scan the environment and prepare ourselves for the ‘new next’ towards future goals and opportunities, which would lead the market. One example here is the early spotting of the drone industry opening up in India, adapting and building a drone business practice in India as an investment, which would certainly yield big dividends in the immediate future for us and our partners.
We started as a distributor for electronic components and computer peripherals – growing and developing into a value-added distributor. Strategic and continuous acquisition of vendors has allowed us to move along the transformation journey, where we currently play an important role as a solution aggregator in the entire tech-channel ecosystem. As the largest distributor of technology products and services with warehouses and offices pan India, we are today well-positioned to serve our customers across all the 3 Cs of the tech industry – i.e., comprehensive offering across the COMPUTING spectrum, COMMUNICATION (mobility business) and adjacent CONSUMER ELECTRONICS.
What is the impact of WFH on distribution and how has Ingram adapted to this?
During the lockdown, the IT industry transitioned to the ‘Work from Home’ model rather smoothly as compared to other sectors, providing business continuity to customers without lowering quality or productivity. In our specific domain, we were among the frontrunners in enabling our associates with comprehensive WFM infrastructure, business applications and training. Over the course of the last 2 years, we have quickly moved from digitizing for business continuity to enabling longer-term workplace strategies, which accelerated the current pace of technology in India. In support to ensure a better employee experience, we adopted a cloud-first approach to digitize in the form of SaaS & IaaS, cyber security and services with a strong focus on security.
Our workplace design has also undergone a significant change, culminating in an optimised and flexible office space model. The pillars of the ‘new normal’ workplace at Ingram Micro have been an associate experience, flexibility, productivity, employee empowerment, training, work-life balance and customised work policies as per the functional needs. These efforts have resulted in Ingram Micro India being recognised with multiple awards in the area of Business transformation, Covid 19 adaptation etc and also as a ‘Great Place to Work’ in both of the last two years.
What is the future of the emerging IoT domain?
The concept of IoT is not new, it was originally popularised as M2M (Machine to Machine) about 20 years ago, which was used to describe the process of collecting data from individual machines and connecting them to the Internet. Once connected, the data was routed to servers (machines) for processing and use. More recently, the Internet of Things (IoT) has replaced M2M, and amidst an explosion of connected ‘machines,’ including mobile phones, commercial refrigerators, building lighting, security cameras and a countless number of other devices, IoT has become a considerably more complex and monumental opportunity than its predecessor, M2M. There are about 7 billion connected devices globally only in the business space and clearly, IoT is not just a technology opportunity, but a business opportunity.
At Ingram Micro, we see an IoT solution having four pillars of sensor, gateway, connectivity and platform. And these solutions have a large number of use-case-based opportunities – a few examples being the asset tracking in logistics, manufacturing, productivity monitoring, video recognition, smart city applications, extended reality applications etc. Under the aegis of our Global Industry Solutions practice, we are early adaptors & investors in this domain with an impressive IoT solutions catalogue. The Internet of Things is a versatile, affordable and valuable tool for many industries and certainly one of the largest enablers of responsible digital transformation and promises to bring a variety of innovative business benefits with it, including increased efficiency across industries, safer infrastructure and reduced operational costs. We strongly recommend that our partners join us in this journey in the early stages to be able to exploit this opportunity.
Take us through the journey over the years with your partners.
Ingram Micro has global operations in 59 countries with sales in 160 countries and we are a 43-year young organisation. Our global reach enables us to better serve our customers by using our extensive sales and distribution network and more importantly, cross-leveraging the learnings and insights from one market to another. Our strengths position us to meet the growing needs of our business partners around the world, combining geographic breadth with an understanding of local market nuances. We take pride in enabling our business partners to become more efficient, knowledgeable and profitable. As a global company with a broad product portfolio, Ingram Micro offers economies of scale for small business, medium-sized and enterprise partners – with a partner-first philosophy.
What are your future innovations and the road ahead?
- We will continue to enhance our portfolio and expand into adjacencies, creating additional long-term revenue streams.
- Our unwavering focus on associate well-being, diversity, inclusion, learning and our spirit of caring & sharing made Ingram Micro a better workplace.
- To build a quick response mechanism to act fast to any situation, especially in new areas ventured, i.e. high-end technical services through navigating new and ever-changing demands of the market.
- IMEcom – an award-winning B2B portal at CRN Summit 2021, CRM, B2B2C, IMlink and Digital Workforce Transformation are the few priorities, we continue to build on with huge support from our customers, vendors and associates and all the external stakeholders to expand the market visibility around the ecosystem.