B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 1 year ago

Sitting down with Sabine Howest


The future of CX for IoT solutions includes 3 essential features, according to Ingram Micro’s VP of Global Partner Engagement & IoT, Sabine Howest

Sabine has demonstrated time and time again her outstanding leadership skills through numerous waves of technological advancements. Now, she and her team are focusing on building the next generation of IoT. 

In this episode, Keri and Sabine discuss: 

-3 major features IoT solutions must possess for great CX 

-How partners can leverage IoT on a local and global scale 

-How Sabine’s leadership style has driven her to focus on diversity and inclusion 

-What the future of IoT looks like 

Contact the Global IoT team via LinkedIn, Twitter or email at iot@ingrammicro.com 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Sponsored by Ingram Micro Financial Solutions and Ingram Micro Imagine Next 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher. Or, tune in on our website.

You're listening to beb tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram micros imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, Dot Ingram microcom to find out war. Let's get into it. Welcome to be tob tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Carrie Roberts, and my guest today is to Bein how is. She is the VP of global partner engagement and Iot at Ingram micro. Welcome to be and we are so thrilled to have you here today. Hello, Carrie, I'm very much excited to be here too. Thanks for having me. So let's start with the headlines. IOT Is gaining a lot of attention for its growing role in the response to Covid nineteen. What trends are you seeing today around the use of Iot and where do you see adoption heading? Yeah, so obviously there's a lot of talk about Iot during covid nineteen, so I think there's a very relevant question. Generally speaking, there many trends and Iot right now that go across the full stack of Iot if you wish, the centers, the gateways, kind activity and platform. And then I would say the one that is the most prevalent is probably the edge compute right now. So you know what it means is that there's there's been so many advances that were made at the processor level within inside the edge of the IOT device, like you know, the censors and the gateways, they all got really much faster and more powerful when it comes to processing data. So you know, generally, if you wish, data processing inside the edge computing pieces super important right now and it pops up in all those conversation. I think it's also very relevant with regards to the the COVID crisis. So what happens is, in my view, probably two things basically. So first one is that you know all the tell cooperators. They obviously look for cost effectiveness and efficiency whenever they have these devices out there and and try to drive iot solution. So you know when the edge comes in and is getting faster and the data that can go through it can be processed faster and analyze, what we call closer to its source, so it doesn't need to go back and forth between the actual connected device and its source, then that means savings for everyone and you know, also it avoids some unnecessary communication. So you know, for example, if you if the data gets transmitted to remobile data, if the device on the data and the device gets put through mobile data, then that means that cloud consumption and storage casts, etc. Need to you know, go with it. Yeah, and then I would say the next consideration really is is the fact that the edge computer is evolving so much so it, like I said, it gets faster, but it allows so it also technology allows now for machine learning and a toil artificial intelligence at the edge. So, you know, these devices they're inside, they get faster, but they also get smarter and that means that they can identify data patterns right away and, you know, they can avoid a lot of back and forth and make the device look smarter. So I think a really good example here with covid would be a medical facility or, you know, someplace where healthcare providers are trying, you know, trying to use IOT connected devices for different types of solution. So one that is very popular would be thermal imaging detection right now. So you maybe have seen those right these are they look like arcs where you walk through and their temperature gets measured. You know, can detect whether you wear a mask, and those are really...

...life examples right now of, you know, applications around Iot in solutions that have been put in place inside Ingram locations, but also with partners. Yeah, it's it's extremely exciting what's already here and what's coming. And of course, the other issue is always about security. It's always top of mine. In today's digital world, with so many people working from home or between the office and home, how is the conversation around security and Iot changing? Dus? Well, I think security itself is always a real big concern and with covid suddenly everybody, all the associates, a lot of people had to work at home, you know, meaning not from home, but at home first, where maybe they don't have the right measures in place right now or their enterprise was not ready to get the laptops configured properly or set up right, and they start to accessing networking and all sorts of other infrastructure of their own company and you know, all this had to be secure. So there was, I would say there was a lot of concern as well around, you know, vulnerability and attacks that came up. If you've seen the news carry there was there was so much news about really sophisticating fishing attacks, malware and unfortunately with the crisis came an increase also on cyber attacks. So securities is always a big concerned. It's even more right now with regards to the the covid pandemic. So you know some of the fears. Bring it back to Iot, I would say is the fact that there's there's a high number of connected things or devices now that are sitting in the network and that tried to get access to networks right before or the way you could control what was accessing their network, I think was a bit more tonite now, with all the opportunities of connectivity, you know, towards devices are externally speaking, people who are having at home some of the own software or use some device that is connected to their own wireless and now suddenly, you know, they using the same Internet to go and access their server for the company. It all gets connected and I think both security and privacy really have become a major concern there. Yeah, so what Ingram's done is we've come up with an Iot S reat defense solution. There and we've done one actually ourselves with our own solutions now and devices, and we use it and warehouses. We use it for facilities that we have, and what we try to do there is we try to provide, you know, threat protection for the warehouse when it comes to now connectivity towards the cloud, or we make sure that they may be now different users in restricted areas and that, you know, the access that we grant there is authorized because, you know, under covid a lot of things is shuffled right. We had some businesses that got registered as essential and on the other side you had to comply with local government regulations. So the users who would usually do stuff that got changed and their need. There was a lot of flexibility needed there. You all so had to go and mitigate device vunmberabilities or, you know, make sure that everything is compliant when it comes to data privacy in those things. So we had some really interesting case studies there. So we had our own device, like I said, where you could go and, you know, detect if someone had a temperature before going in, but we also built solutions with partners, big OMS on our side, where they would all go and include their own heartware stack and help us to go and have networking, access control solutions in those kinds of things there. So I think it's been a really busy time when it comes to security and privacy for Iot due to the pandemic. Yeah, and another thing I...

...want to chat about is this customer experience concept. What role does Iot have in the customer experience that you think partners need to consider? Huh? Yeah, that's a big word, right, because it's so diverse. You think of what I t can be. It can be like, you know, it can be labeled in a very broad fashion bad. Well, I would say in my view. You know, customer experience inside Iot really needs to have three features. I would say it needs to be seamless, obviously has to be secure, for the reasons we just mentioned, and it has to be actionable or executable easily for for our partners. So it seamless in what way is? It has to have an end to and solution that allows for our partners to go and install something that functions, that is almost ready in the box, ideally in many places, or that is built together and then has a seamless streaming experience across the different aspects of what an Iot solution should do so gay to data gathering, you know, data processing afterwards, go in leveraging the data and even further on down to artificial intelligence and Mr Secure. Well, you know, we just mentioned that. It's important that it's secure, and I think it now the the data privacy I expects around security are getting even more important, because think of it like if you and me, if we go through the airport. Now, imagine if you had to go through one of those thermal temperature kind of devices there. It's quite intrusive. Right. People may look at I saw that in the press. They may look at your faces and see if you have a frowning face or smile on your face to detect whether you feel good or bad and whether you should be yes or not, board a flight, and that could be quite intrusive into your privacy. And I think with increased security will come to certain respect the decrease of privacy. So people will have to give that up. And then, lastly, the the actionable side of Iot really has to be the fact that those are solutions that really have an aim, which is produced the data that is mean, meaningful and that allow us to go and take decisions. Right. So, if in the end the data that you get out from, you know, screening people, you can't use it to go and do something with it, then where's the purpose? So a lot of the data processing data services around this, the quality of those is really important, because otherwise there's no point in having a connected device. I think the forward looking nature of what Iot and connected devices can produces is really important here, and data is is enabling that. You know, there's still also a lot of confusion about how partners can leverage Iot and especially establish a profitable practice with it. Can you share with us how they could do that and maybe any examples of use cases of how it's worked well so far? There's many ways and you know, Ingram serves huge variety of partners across fifty five countries. So the levels of competency and capabilities, you know, also inside Ingram, and I think distribution of what we do with an Iot is varies greatly. So if we look at our partners, you know, enabling a telco who's already equipped with a full fledged g type of business unit has huge operator expertise. Obviously that goes with it, often deep consultancy expertise. The value and in terms of enablement that we bring there is is probably more tending toward the side of supporting around infrastructure, supporting projects execution, some of the more transactional aspect or, you know, complement some of the consulting features that customers may not have that much depths in, you know, partners of that size. Then if you think more about the commercial and the mid market, I think that's wearing room can play a big role. Enabling our partners there. Starts...

...from training, showcasing what we have, I think, living projects and, you know, helping them to go and understand what opportunities are of those easy types of projects as is certainly the first phase of enablement. And the realty hear is that I think distribution and Ingram itself can add a lot of value. Right, we have access to broad amounts of ingredients like that. You need try to solutions when it comes to the infrastructure devices themselves, you know, but also now consultancy. Wise we can go and help and showcase really solutions that our partners could do and that are within their capabilities of execution. If we go and say, you know, we can even go and say, look at Your partner base, what are the industries that you most serve. Who are, you know, what we can define through business intelligence? What are the segments of partners, of ent users that they have for which they, you know, could have a high propensity of doing more IOT with and go and zoom in there and enable them. So I think a range is really across the broad government of services that we can bring to the table that go from, you know, more support fulfill and complete to really enable drive consultant train. Real quick before we jump straight back into the episode today, we want to tell you about Ingram micro financial solutions and how you can maximize your buying power and get to yes with your customers faster. For the last nine years, Ingram micro has been channel pros reader's choice for best financing options. Put The power of our credit and leasing options to work for you. You can easily contact financial solutions at Ingram microcom. All right, let's get back to the show. Yeah, I mean, as we've heard on this show for almost a year now, ingram definitely provides such an array of education, resources, people, tools, literally everything you need, which is incredible. And one of the things that you've spoken about before is this idea of strategizing globally and executing locally in your new role with the IOT space. What does that mean to you and how do you see Ingram adding value to the IOTEAM market, including the new IOT center of Excellence? It's opening this fall. Yeah, and and you know, this is Iot Center of excellence. There, I think, is probably a big part of the answer to the question about how do you, who you know, strategize globally and execute locally? So really our purpose is to go and set an overall view of what we think as a service provider, platform provider, as a, you know, more broadline distributor, but also specialty value added distributor. What can we bring there to the table for Iot and how can we enable our countries and our different partners inside those countries to go and benefit from the growth that you have in this space? So the IOT center is a great example because it allows us to showcase what we can do. It allows us to go and invite our partners, invite, you know, end users train, it allows us to invite internal associates for them to understand what the opportunities are. So you can imagine, we sit on a huge sales force that support thousands of partners and understanding what the value is that we can do with Iot is just paramount here. And if you have a physical location, for those of you have been able to visit executive briefing centers of that sort, you know seeing and touching and living it yourself is the easiest way to understand, in my view. So the idea really is we want to enable our partners, we want to go and support our own country business units supporting their local partners. I think Ingram has a firm belief that business has done locally, because it has to be done as closely to our customers locally as possible, and...

...all of you is that we can go and take away a lot of hassle from our local sales forces by, you know, building not just a global strategy, if you wish, but really by setting an umbrella of foundational support services, whether it's platforms or it or, you know, physical demo centers like this one, that could then allow the countries to go and accelerate and get deeper and, you know, get more people in front of our partners. You know, I want to switch gear slightly here for a moment and talk about you as a person, Sab being because I want to acknowledge you for your leadership style, because before this interview I spoke with a few people at Ingram and all of them complimented you on your incredible ability to listen and understand your staff, how inspiring you are with talking about teamwork and the way you communicate with your team. So I'm curious, when it comes to your leadership style, what is your process in creating a great team environment? Yeah, that's very nice to say. It's nice to speak about my, you know, ability to listen when you have to do a podcast and you feel like you're talking in one breath. But thanks for thanks for bringing as up. Well, you know, first of all, Ingram's really is a great place to work. I have to say, and I hope I'll partners echo that is the people and the value of the people are our major strength and I think, as we know, got all catapulted into the twenty one century with Covid and, you know, things like cyber and Iot, that all become even more important. I have to say I'm really proud of being part of such an organization and, you know, one thing I noticed is that if you if you build really good teams, well you get really good stuff done and if your team functions well and you like your team, your team likes you and they like each other, then usually what happens is is you create good team spirits. You you don't have people hiding or shying away from responsibility. In the contrary, you have people who want to pull the weight and want to chime in and do more. And you know, I I don't know. I grew up through sales, so I was one of these people who had to go and, you know, without a GPS, getting getting my rental car and all sorts of places across Europe and drive there and I had a suitcase with samples and I had customer appointments and, you know, sit in the lobby there and wait and I'd be usually an hour early before because, you know, I couldn't trust my gps. Then I had to trust some maps and I was horrible at it and I kept you know, now, when you hear and you have we have this luxury of having these huge teams right and I can still keep thinking what kind of boss, what I have liked or, you know, what kind of team would I have liked? How would I be seen? And I think that's probably that's probably the biggest thing is I try to have empathy in the sayings that I try to understand what the people work for me, what really makes them tick and how they feel, what they want to get out of this and what are the best and I think for that, if you do that and if you try to get to know each other, then you know, you build a lot of trust. You can be transparent. If you're transparend about your gold then people can adhere to it. You have the same sense of purpose and you know, if you feel your team's doing something great, you really get a lot of enthusiasm with it because, well, the purpose that you all work for, if you start having results, it's it's very refreshing. I mean my Gpe team and now, I hope, the IOT team has been growing a lot over the last year's and that in setting room's been a testament of the trust and you know the value that this grates and I think you get a sense of pride. So so I think, yeah, probably trusting each other now, being pretty transparent, having empathy and just not forgetting...

...that, even if you're the leader and they you know you work together as a team. There's a hierarchy, but aside from that, you you just people right, we all, you know, we have to respect each other as equals and if you get down to those kind of standards and have a diverse team on top of it, it can get Super Fun. Yeah, I cannot agree more. And, as you just said, another thing that's a most importance to you as well is inclusion and equality. How do you lead an advocate in that way as well? I try so, and you know, I think it's probably the most honest way to say is I try. Obviously everybody nowadays wants to have, I think, an inclusive and diverse team and, you know, equality not just in sense of gender equality, but you know, having having a diverse team. And when I say I try, is I think I tried to put more effort into it. And for those of you who know how, you know we have quarters, we have quota as. Time is always so paramount that you get stuffed done fast and you know that if you don't have the person, then you know you got to do it or you have to load it onto on top of someone else who already has a job. Until you have that headcount. Field and recruiting, I think for inclusion and to have an equal or, you know, a diverse team is, in my view, is the most critical aspect there. And if you put and try and put my effort and time, then you know, you may actually end up with a better result than going forward fast because, frankly, you have to look harder. And I was, I think, in the last year and the year be for I was able to make two really good headcount additions that were, you know, I could fall under the label of being inclusive and diverse, and frankly, it took three to six months longer every time. And so I think, I think if you put the effort in, it can work, but you have to be committed. And but once you do, it is just it's so much fun, right. I remember I read once on Linkedin some comment of one of the IT eaders. Say Yeah, but the problem is if you've got too much of a diverse team, then you end up in the room and everyone is just different. Now all have their own different opinions and you know, you can't make sense of it anymore. And I couldn't disagree more because I'm thinking the more I actually you have diverse opinions and the more you have different looking, different speaking, different feeling people sitting around the table with the same purpose, right, and being able to interact with each other with respect and agnostically, of you know whatever noninclusive means. Then you get some real fun conversation there and you mix it up with people who want to learn, who who are curious, who look at behind of what people want to say versus just at their face and their body, then you know, you can get to really deep, I would say, you can get really meaningful creativity and innovation out of your teams, and it's very fun. Right. It's fun when you're not all the same, at least I don't know. I've lived in many places. I'm always curious around people and it's very rewarding when you end up having a team where you know not everybody just looks the same, if you wish, or has the same profile or comes from the same background. Yeah, I couldn't agree more. Diversity of thought is so important too, and you know, the one question we like to ask everyone on this show is where do you see technology going within the next year? And it could be from an Ito IOT standpoint or it could be as a whole, whichever you prefer? It's a big question. So so, as a I don't know. I would I would say I'd bring it down to to Ingram, probably in a bit to Irati, if you don't mine carry. But I think where it's going is it's it's really now the twenty one...

...century. I think the people who be forethought that technology is not going to save the world. Well, look at it. Think of the pandemic. If it had happened, you know, ten years ago or even only five years ago, how much more havoc it may have created? Right, so I really think there's a purpose behind technology and I think that it is just going to accelerate the cybersecurity piece. We talked about it, right, because that goes with it. If technology goes deeper and further and touches more and more non technology segments, then was that come different needs for privacy, security. The data, the sheer data that will produce will be bigger and bigger. So the need of, you know, being able to process that data for meaningful outcomes is going to be huge. And the services, however, the types of services you could do on the side to benefit from this, is also going to be huge opportunity. So I think we'll go into a worlld well. You know, people will will make more concessions when it comes to, you know, clicks and checks that you put down under you know, questions where you get asked way whether you accept terms. You know you will give up more on your phone, you will give up more in your car, you will give up more in your in your home when it comes to your own private data. And some of it, you know, will be for really good reasons and good advancement, and I think some of it will will post problems. So you know the data privacy and what this means. We've started bar coding people and putting spy where willingly, in people's phones so that we can go and track people. Right now, it's the reason for this is very valid with the pandemic, but think of you know, how these things are going to be done or undone. I don't know if you've got alexar or, you know, a serie or what else device. People are already used to having a microphone in their home and their kitchen that listens to everything you say, and I think the future of technology is going to be even more that. Now, when it comes to Ingram, I think we'll have to evolve with it and support our partners and become deeper where it comes to certain capabilities that just not everybody can access to. So it's our job also to compliment our partners and so that they can go and do their business in a supported way with us. And I would say when it comes to Iot, it's just massive right. I mean we're already talking gigantic numbers when it comes to gross and Iot. You know the forecasts that you know IDC have out there. They're always huge numbers, huge growth areas, and it's true right to connected devices will rule on more and more our lives and the same as with privacy, will will give up freely. You know by clicking on this, I accept the terms. Will give up freely how we use them and was it does with them. We probably, as a user, don't understand that much of what's going to be done with it, but it's all going to be exploited. I don't know carry if you had that. About three four years ago I noticed that my phone could tell. Saturday morning, when I got in the car, it started telling me where I was about to drive. Right, so sweet favorites. It's a little creepy, but it's exciting all at the same time. Now I hear you, God, I don't know if it's really annoyed me first, and then I thought, you know, I don't know if I've ever have signed up for this kind of thing and you know, it bucked me for a while and then I got used to it and then more and more of these sort of things popped up where you know this, this, this phone, are you know, this laptop or what else you are and shop. It just seems to know more about you than yourself, about what you're going to do. So I think that's the new reality. It's a bit scary, but at the same time I think it's also very hopeful because, you know, we've always managed, and I think there's big ways to go and monetize this...

...right. The IT itself is going to be a sector, in my view, that will do well. If you think how the IT industry is doing in this difficulty or two thousand and twenty, I think a lot of people will agree that we've been we've been lucky here because we've got a business status grown in many sectors and we have therefore the ability to support and if you just bear with me one more minute. I would say, you know, same with the same sense of purpose. It's been really good to observe how many channel partners, OHM's vendors, but also bigger partners, have chimed in there and supported the channel right through financings, through programs, so faster payouts of rebates, through simplification, through early payment discount so adults were in terms of commercial support and the fact that we were able to do that within the industry through agents who are active in this industry. I think it's just it's been great to watch. I think the future of it and technology is certainly, certainly bright and my view. Yeah, and as you had mentioned before, you know, making the technology seamless and secure is really crucial. kind of having that mix. And we spoke a ton about Iot today and of course yourself personally as well. Where can partners access further resources on Iot and follow you on social media? So pre email that can join us at Iot, at room microcom or you could absolutely go to Ingram Micro IOT on twitter, also on Linkedin. You can find US easily. They're perfect. Well, thank you so much for your time today. So being you know, I congratulate you on your leadership style and I'm so excited that you were here to show your passion and knowledge on the IOT and this space. Carrie, thank you for having me. It was fun and good luck with the next edition. If you like this episode or have a question, join the discussion on twitter at Ingram Texel with the Hashtag be to be tech top thank you for tuning in and subscribing to be to be tech talk with Ingram micro. You've been listening to beb tech talk with Ingram Micro, hosted by Carrie Roberts. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micros imagine next. Bb Tech Talk is a joint production with sweetish media and ingrim micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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