Ingram Executives Focus On The Future With The Nimax Name Left Behind
(Las Vegas) — There's a common perception in the channel that many companies tend to forget: Change is easier for VARs to digest when they have a year or two to understand the benefits it provides. When Ingram Micro acquired Nimax in 2005, many solutions providers expressed concern that the data capture and POS (point of sale) distributor would lose the focus and high service levels VARs were accustomed to. For the most part, Ingram left more flexible financing and other aspects of the Nimax Division in place and slowly added products and services to the portfolio. Their executives thought 2007 was the right time to bring the division under the Ingram Micro umbrella. "Our division will continue to manage business differently from our parent company, but we've assembled plans to assist partners with more comprehensive solution growth, including new technologies and services," said John Soumbasakis, VP and GM of the Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS Division.
Ingram executives understand that market-specific applications are important to succeed in the POS and data capture segment, so they developed a plan to help VARs build more comprehensive solutions. That plan includes targeting ISVs (independent software vendors) with POS, data capture, and RFID (radio frequency identification) experience to work closely with solutions providers, vendors, and Ingram. The distributor hopes to recruit healthcare, manufacturing, and other vertical-specific software providers to design and help VARs integrate with its vendors' data capture products. These projects include everything from all-in-one POS and surveillance solutions to digital signage and payment processing systems.
The Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS Division also is focused on building a network of RFID-certified VARs that can develop and deliver solutions for this emerging technology. While RFID industry growth has been slower than expected, closed-loop (inside the four walls) applications are an example of where VARs are generating revenue and profits. Ingram's goal with both the ISV and RFID programs is to provide new sales and support opportunities for partners and vendors and to create stronger solutions for VARs' customers.
VARs Benefit From Line Card Additions
Most of the VARs I spoke with at the Ingram Micro Data Capture/POS Division's Annual Partner Invitational were encouraged by the 16 new vendor relationships created over the last year. One example is Printronix (RFID and thermal bar code printers), which was added in late 2006. According to Soumbasakis, the mix of traditional data capture and POS product VAR purchases has shifted from 90% (compared with 10% in other technologies) in 2005 to 70% (30% in other technologies) in 2006. "We expect this shift to continue as our partners see the value of adding complementary products to their traditional offerings and solutions," said Soumbasakis. "VARs need to increase their technology relevance to their customers as competition heats up, and our line card allows our partners to expand their solution design." This opportunity was highlighted at the event by the presence of companies such as Kingston Technology (flash memory supplier) and Buffalo Technology (wireless and data storage provider).
Data Capture/POS Division Leverages Ingram Resources
Ingram Micro purchased Nimax to bring new technology offerings and solutions capabilities to its existing VARs, as well as to capture a new audience of POS and data capture partners. The transition has taken more than two years, but data capture and POS solutions providers are beginning to capitalize on the benefits this distributor can provide, such as access to the IMSN (Ingram Micro Services Network), financing, and configuration services.
The IMSN allows VARs to partner with more than 750 service providers in North America for a range of service and support options. For example, if a POS project for a large retailer includes locations outside a VAR's geography or requires more technical resources than it can provide, a solutions provider can utilize the IMSN to complete the implementations as well as provide warranty and break/fix support afterward. That's a great way to leverage other trusted partners to expand your sales scope and service options without adding new employees.