Ingram Micro will be introducing its Xvantage artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital experience platform to the Australian market in the fourth quarter of this year.
The platform is powered by a global real time data mesh containing many years of operating and transactions data, as well as by several proprietary engines which are enhanced by AI and machine learning (ML).
Ingram Micro’s Cloud Marketplace will also be integrated into Xvantage, allowing cloud solutions to be incorporated into transactions containing technology hardware, software licences and professional services.
Ingram Micro SVP and Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) country chief executive Tim Ament revealed Xvantage will be arriving on Australian shores during the Ingram Micro Experience event in Sydney on 7 June. The digital platform was launched in June last year, globally and is currently operating in 14 countries.
“We've listened to customers around the world and the message was clear – you wanted a faster way to do business and you want to simplify and take away all the noise your team members are spending around doing quotes and orders,” he said. “It is about digitally transforming the way we do business, streamlining and simplifying transactions.”
There are three portions of the platform aimed at employees, customers and vendors. The first platform to land in Australia will be the Xvantage for employees, followed by customers and then vendors.
“The three platforms work together to create the ecosystem and we’ll continuously build on it,” Ament said.
As a result, Ingram has created a ‘digital operations’ team in country, led by A/NZ director for customer success and digital experience Sonia Phillips.
Ament said it will be looking closely at some of the major learnings from deployments in other countries, what has worked and what needs to be tweaked for the Australian market.
The distribution giant also reorganised its vendor and sales teams under what it termed internally as ‘Project Next’, creating four divisions – cloud, cyber security and hybrid business applications, led by Trent Gomersall; advanced and speciality solutions; commercial solutions, both led by Hope McGarry; and consumer solutions division, led by newly appointed John Hollings.
“These are specialised teams that can show up and support the technologies in those groups and also the customers that are buying those technologies as a primary route to market,” he said. “It allows us to be very specialised and, at the same time, very broad in what we do. Project Next created dedicated account management, single points of ownership in the field and also on the inside, a transactional journey for our customers.
“This is the first step towards improving the experience for all of our customers and vendors.”
This also resulted in a $10 million annual investment into hiring more than 100 new people into the organisation focused on customer and vendor-facing resources.
“We will continue to learn and modify based on internal feedback, learnings and also continued feedback from our customers. Change is hard and it's not an easy process,” he said.
“When you put the right team in place and you give them the power to execute against the vision and you believe in what's possible, there's really nothing that can stop you.”
Ament shared when he first took up the country manager post in March 2020, there were consistent themes that partners shared when it came to interacting with Ingram and that it was a complex organisation to deal with.
On the positive side, Ament said was the broad product portfolio and that partners really liked their team members and company culture.
“We were operating as two companies between the cloud and our traditional business and we realised through your feedback, we needed to do something different and so we started spending time evaluating that,” he said.
Despite these initial challenges, Ament said the distributor had record results in the first two years in the Australian business and globally, driven by the surge of technology demand and hybrid work.
“What we found was that 95 per cent of customers we do business with transact both traditional hardware and some types of cloud subscription service. In fact, the average order includes six different technology solutions and can be both hardware purchased traditionally, software licensing and subscription services; all of that had to go through different processes and systems,” he added.