Ingram provides value-added recipe

Resellers can expect to see new value-added services from the Ingram Micro "cookbook" starting from the third quarter of 1999, according to John Kinny, the global distributor's director, business development, Asia-Pacific.

"We expect to roll out two or three programs in the second half of this year based on customer demand," Kinny told ARN last week while in Australia to address a reseller conference.

"What we first plan to do is go out to our customers and give them the option of where we can begin with things like e-commerce, configuration capabilities and outsourcing services. Then we will try and develop a timeline based on customer feedback."

Braham Shnider, MD of Ingram's most recent buy ITG, said the first program to be launched would be an electronic commerce template offering whereby the reseller's Web site front ends the Ingram back end. This will enable resellers to sell any Ingram-distributed product electronically to their customers, Shnider said. More than 85,000 resellers use this facility in the US, he claimed.

ITG has also had "very, very preliminary discussions" with Compaq about co-locating, Shnider said. That is setting up Ingram facilities at the Compaq manufacturing plant, so that equipment can be customised before it is boxed. ITG would also look at this option with other major PC vendors, he said.

Shnider was not as confident that ITG would roll out as many value-added services in 1999, though.

"We are kidding ourselves if we think we can deliver these new services in 1999," Shnider said. "There is too much integration work to be completed. Early next year is more like it for these to be fully up and running."

As ERA's and ITG's customer base is so disparate, Kinny said that there would be separate polls and roll-out strategies for each.

"It is different services for different customer sets," Kinny said. "Where traditional systems-type resellers of ITG will appreciate the opportunities created from us offering configuration services as well as e-commerce, they aren't that important to ERA's traditional OEM customers."