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Ingram readies its enterprise arsenal

Paul Withers
November 18, 2014

UK VP and MD Fergal Donovan discusses IMM’s new one-stop shopping programme

Ingram Micro Mobility (IMM) is preparing for a major UK and European assault on the enterprise market, with the launch of a new partner inspired ‘one stop shop’ strategy.

The new ‘Enterprise Enablement Programme’ is due to be rolled out in the New Year and is designed to provide customers with the ability to purchase all their mobile hardware, software and services in a single step by step process.

The programme is essentially divided into four categories (pictured) listing an array of products and services “essential” for enterprise customers, and available through Ingram.

These include hardware (smartphone, tablet), software (MDM, security, anti malware), accessories and services (finance, insurance, airtime, trade-in. buyback).


New opportunities
IMM UK VP and MD Fergal Donovan (pictured main), formerly of BrightPoint, told Mobile News the firm is now “perfectly placed” to support enterprise customers – and its creation programme was built from a mix of customer feedback and its own experiences across its various markets.

“Traditionally a customer would get their hardware from one place, their insurance from another, and so on.

“The industry has told us what they need and want and we have delivered – with the Enterprise Enablement Programme. It is a simple process enabling them to select everything they need for their business.

“We are not saying you have to buy all from us. We are trying to understand what they buy today and how we can make it easier for them than before. We’ve done that and have a very compelling offer.”

The programme is the latest evolution from the 30-year-old firm. It recently updated its branding and completed a major acquisition spree in the IT and mobile space – most notably that of handset behemoth BrightPoint for $840 million in October 2012.

IMM now claims to be the world’s largest technology distributor with revenues close to $43 billion. It employs close to 23,000 staff globally (480 UK), has around 200,000 customers (10,000 UK), and has a reach across more than 170 countries across six-continents.

Donovan said all the “pieces” from the various acquisitions have now successfully been integrated into the organisation – and such is its portfolio, doors in enterprise previously closed as BrightPoint, both locally and internationally are now starting to open.

“Being part of Ingram has really changed our image and our ability to talk to large customers and deal with large opportunities” explained Donovan.

“We are buying in the right types of people (see box out), the right skills and leveraging the relationship with Ingram to go to customers with a far larger and more competitive solution. Convergence today means something totally different to five years ago.

“We are doing what the market expects us to do, and one of the reasons Ingram bought Brightpoint. We have all the pieces.”


Donovan is also keen to change the perception of the Ingram Micro Mobility brand in the UK, which he admits has been focused more heavily on distribution rather than services, compared with other markets it operates in, particularly its US home market.

In 2011, BrightPoint handled more than 112 million handsets, but just 20 per cent of those fell under the traditional category of distribution. The remaining 80 per cent were handled on behalf of its partners, be they MVNOs, operators or manufacturers, providing each with more than 100 different “life cycle” services covering a device’s entire lifespan from cradle to grave.

These services, have to date largely been deployed outside of the UK and European markets – but Donovan says this is something he is keen to change going forward.

“We offer over 100 different services to our partners globally, but we don’t necessarily do all of those in every single country,” explained Donovan.

“Not all of them might be relevant, but there is definitely a case for getting those best practices from other parts of the region or the world into the market we are looking at right now.

“The UK business has been very much distribution focussed, but margins are under pressure and distribution partners need to be able to increase their services. Our focus next year is to really grow our services and to really grow and enable our enterprise our mobility solutions.

“Our strategy is about filling in the gaps of where we feel we need to have services and processes and products we don’t have. We’ve been working hard the past few months to build that and make us complete.”

“We are now leveraging our weight as an organisation regionally and globally to help us in the UK.””

Changing needs
A key part of the programme’s creation has centred around changes to enterprise buying habits when it comes to hardware.

According to Donovan Ingram Micro Mobility has seen a significant uplift in the number of enterprise customers choosing to buy their hardware (handsets and tablets) via a distributor rather than the traditional routes via airtime resellers.

To help accommodate this, Ingram has recently introduced a number of new services providing a range of finance offerings to help ease the burden (should they need it) due to the removal of a handset subsidy.

Customers can spread the costs of the entire deal (including accessories, software etc) and pay it over an agreed time period.

“We are seeing a clear trend where there is a decoupling of services from the operator model,” said Donovan.

“The norm before was get a pocket of money and choose to buy your devices either from the operator or from somewhere else. That money is now coming at stages through the contract – so they don’t have as much financial freedom as they once used to.

“What we are saying to those companies is they can buy over 24 months rather than in one go. Essentially turning it from a CAPEX to an OPEX. This is one of the big things got from the conversations with the industry. Make it easy. We are catering the needs for the enterprise channel”

Handset trade-in
Another growth area which falls within the programme – and helping with costs, is through Ingram Micro Mobility’s debut handset recycling trade-in operation.

IMM partnered with High Wycombe-based electronics  recycler CANAI – who provide  services in more than 6,000 locations across five continents, back in June this year, and is included in the  enablement programme.

Customers are able to trade-in older devices and use the cash as part of a fund towards their new hardware.

IMM rival Brightstar is one of the largest – if not the largest handset recyclers (Buyback & Trade-in Solutions) on the planet at present, handling and re-marketing more than 10 million devices across more than 100 countries in just a few years.

Here in the UK, Brightstar 20:20 has agreements with EE, Vodafone (legacy from Mobile Phone Xchange acquired in 2012) and is currently competing with Redeem for a O2 deal worth around £12 million over three years..

Donovan says growing this part of the business and competing with its rivals for large contracts is a key focus and has already begun early discussions with ‘unnamed’ partners.

“There is a lot of potential value in this market and it’s definitely an area of focus and growth for us now and into next year,” said Donovan. “It’s one part of a solution an operator needs. We are in advanced discussions with all sorts of operators about services we can offer them, and that would be one part of it – in the UK, Europe and globally.”

The same focus will also be pushed with accessories – an area Donovan admits has not made clear enough to the market, despite “performing well”.

“It’s a growing part of the business and we would like to see grow even further. We are still selling a lot of accessories, but our image in that space is not in the same when comparable to some of the others accessory suppliers. We want to change this. The Enterprise Enablement Programme’ is part of that process.”

Donovan concluded: “We have a huge hammer behind us in terms of the size of the organisation around the globe. In the UK we have been guilty of not telling people what we do – but that’s changing and we are making the right moves to transmit that message.”

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