Ingram Micro stresses federal, healthcare, SLED market opportunities

Ingram Micro says 2014 is a promising year for partners to take on federal, SLED and healthcare verticals by leveraging IM resources.

Federal, state, local and education (SLED) and healthcare verticals can add a nice piece of business to a partner's annual revenue, as billions of dollars are available annually for those who participate.

At the Ingram Micro Cloud Summit 2014 held in Hollywood, Fla., last week, the distributor explained how partners working together with Ingram Micro can leverage Ingram Micro resources to major in the federal, healthcare and SLED markets.

In a breakout session called "Marketing and Selling Cloud into Healthcare, Government and Education," Ingram Micro executives shared information about the market with about 50 partners, and talked about available Ingram Micro resources and solutions in these federal, healthcare and SLED market segments. The opportunity is big: SLED spending on IT in 2014 is $94 billion, while federal IT spending is $82 billion in 2014. Ingram Micro has had a public sector focus and separate business unit since 1997, and reported that its business is growing, recently reaching $3 billion, or 20% of its total U.S. revenue.

Mike Humke, vice president of public sector and healthcare at Ingram Micro, noted that for the first time in seven years, SLED IT spending is up, a slight increase in budget over 2013, despite the fact that there's less federal funding available for SLED.

Still, the technology drivers for state and local contracts are strong -- public safety, citizen demand for access to services anytime and anywhere, cloud, IT as a service and modernization.

He pointed to some immediate opportunities for partners, such as XP replacement. "Sixty percent of desktops in SLED are still XP," he said.

In addition, social workers, travel and tourism, and first responders are excellent candidates for mobile solutions, cloud, backup and security. The IT budget for justice and public safety in 2014 is $7 billion, according to Humke.

"Baby boomers are retiring, leaving a gap in the IT space. These agencies are looking for help. They're looking for someone to show them how to do it and save money," he said.

Education, or the connected classroom, has been a big opportunity in the U.S. for partners for the past several years. It will continue to be, because education is ongoing and doesn't end in the classroom, Humke suggested. He told partners that Ingram Micro is close to announcing a partnership with Pearson, a leading education company that provides educational materials, technologies, assessments and other services to teachers and students. The partnership will allow Ingram Micro and its partners to sell digital content, teacher training and curriculum development.

Federal was a tough place to do business in 2013, but there are some huge contracts coming out this year, partners were told. Also, with Ingram Micro's acquisition of Promark Technology in November 2012, the company essentially bought a General Services Administration (GSA) schedule that allows its authorized vendors and resellers to sell to the U.S. public-sector market.

The GSA budget in 2014 is $16 billion.

Whether partners have their own GSA schedule or not, there are several ways partners can team with Ingram Micro. In February, VMware became a Federal Distribution Partner (FDA), adding to the number of FDAs that Ingram Micro has since acquiring Promark. "And we're in discussions with other vendors," said Frank Ratel, senior business development manager, public sector at Ingram Micro.

The GSA is not only for federal contracts. Thirty-seven states recognize GSA as a procurement vehicle with some states offering full participation and others limited participation.

In November 2013, Ingram Micro announced an enhanced Diversity Business Partner Network with additional resources and benefits to members who hold small or diverse business certifications, such as 8(a), HUBZone, Woman-Owned or Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned status, to facilitate SLED procurement.

"Over 100 partners have joined our GSA program since we acquired Promark," Ratel said.

Partners can also benefit from Ingram Micro services, such as Secure Supply Chain and Unique Identifier (UID) Tagging, to assure specific security compliance measures are met for federal contracts that require them.

Ingram Micro hopes to close out this year with over $1 billion in revenue from healthcare business. Humke told session attendees that while next-generation electronic medical record (EMR) is one market opportunity for partners, the bigger market opportunity is on the physician side of the business.

"We'll still focus on the hospital side of the house, but we're building out the partner opportunity with the physician," he said.

In February, Ingram Micro announced it partnered with Dell to expand its channel partner program for delivering EMR. At that time, Dell had about 95 partners across the U.S. focusing on EMR.

Citing that there are 900,000 physicians in the U.S. with an average office practice size of three employees, Humke told the audience that general practitioners are going broke because part of their problem is that they don't know how to drive change. The market opportunity here is for partners to run the physicians back office with cloud solutions, such as by adding mobile 24/7, expanding their social networks, digital content and collaboration and providing better data management.

Humke said that Ingram Micro is actively looking to get into the clinical-device side of the healthcare business, as well, since the future is in the data that follows the patient anywhere.

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