EMC drops Ingram Micro as a North American distributor

Seven months after naming Ingram Micro as North American Distributor of the Year, EMC is cutting ties with the distributor.

EMC's recently named North American Distributor of the Year, Ingram Micro, has fallen from grace with the vendor and, effective April 17, will no longer be an authorized distributor for EMC North America.

That's according to a letter that was recently sent to partners and obtained by SearchITChannel. It was signed by Maureen Perrelli, vice president of global channel distribution at EMC.

No executives at EMC would talk to SearchITChannel but sent the following response via email:

EMC has made a conscious effort to evaluate our distribution program so that we can provide greater focus for our channel partners, while ensuring that our customers continue to have choice and flexibility. We have consolidated our distribution approach in North America, as we have previously done in EMEA and Asia-Pacific, so we can better focus our product and enablement efforts to best meet the needs of our partners and customers as they transition from the 2nd Platform to the 3rd Platform. We will continue our strong relationships with all of our global distributors to ensure our alignment model continues to deliver focused attention for our customers and greater operational efficiency for our partners.

Just last June, Gregg Ambulos, EMC senior vice president of Global Channel Sales, and John Albanese, EMC senior vice president of Americas mid-market sales, presented the Partner of the Year award to Ingram Micro's Advanced Computing Division at EMC World Global Partner Summit 2014.

The award credited the distie with expanding EMC's overall business in 2013, emerging as EMC's fastest-growing distributor.

According to Ingram Micro, it built out an EMC VSPEX Assembly and Integration Services practice that allowed EMC to ship fully integrated VSPEX infrastructure solutions that featured best-of-breed storage virtualization, server and networking technology, direct to end customers via the channel.

EMC's distribution rationalizing leaves Ingram Micro out in cold. EMC partners, in the letter from Perrelli, are advised to reach out to one of three EMC Authorized distributors: Arrow, Avnet or Tech Data.

Scott Zahl, vice president for advanced solutions at Ingram Micro, commented on the split with EMC in an email. "Our strategies for growing and supporting channel enablement did not align with EMC's future plans."

Canalys senior analyst Alex Smith said that given the recent accolades that EMC bestowed on Ingram Micro, the news probably comes as a surprise to partners.

When asked about the breadth of services that Ingram Micro offers partners, Zahl went on to say, "Ingram Micro excels at channel enablement and has differentiated its value by focusing on the partners' needs throughout the sales cycle and technology lifecycle. We've gone wide and deep in our solutions and services portfolios to become a single-source technology partner for the IT channel. We have the technology, as well as the business, sales and marketing enablement resources to serve as an indispensable partner."

EMC and Ingram Micro North America had an eight-year relationship with no difficulties, according to the distie. Ingram Micro's EMC business was primarily in the U.S. with some business in Canada and Australia.

In addition to EMC contacting partners late last week, Ingram Micro has also been contacting partners directly via phone and email.

Canalys senior analyst Alex Smith said that given the recent accolades that EMC bestowed on Ingram Micro, the news probably comes as a surprise to partners.

"My guess is that EMC wants to align more with big global distributors like Arrow and Avnet rather than support four large distributors," he said, adding that Arrow and Avnet are strong global partners for EMC in the data center space.

Don't be surprised to see Ingram Micro get some lift in the storage space with a tighter relationship with a vendor like Hewlett-Packard. "Ingram Micro will be in a position to need to double down with another storage partner," Smith said. At the same time, the uplift for opportunity for HP to grow their storage business with Ingram Micro is also significant.

The fallout between EMC and Ingram Micro will force EMC partners to either jump ship to another distributor or cut loose from EMC. That decision will depend on a partner's allegiance to the distributor or vendor.

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