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

Episode · 5 months ago

How R2 Unified Technologies Built a Successful Cisco and Ingram Micro Relationship


Partnerships drive the success of a business. They can lend credibility to a fledgling company and give it the boost it needs to grow the business.

R2 Unified Technologies recognized this and successfully partnered with two big names in the B2B technology space: Cisco and Ingram Micro.

Rita Richa speaks with Jason Doherty, vice president of sales at R2 Unified Technologies, and James Skelton, senior account executive at Ingram Micro, about:

- How the partnerships between Cisco and Ingram Micro came to be

- Positive impacts of the Ingram Micro partnership

- Successes with Cisco’s digital network architecture

- Perks related to working with Ingram Micro

For more information, reach out to R2 Unified Technologies (info@r2ut.com) or to your Ingram Micro rep.

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

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.

Mm Mhm. Mhm. Mhm. You're listening to B two b Tech Talk with Ingram Micro The place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This is the Cisco edition taking your business a level up. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two b. Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. I'm your host, read Orisha! And today I'm joined with Jason Doherty, VP of sales at our two Unified Technologies, and James Skelton, senior account executive at Ingram Micro. Gentlemen, welcome to B two b. Tech talk. Thank you for having us. Yeah, thanks. Great to be here. Absolutely. It's a pleasure to have you both on the show today. We'll be diving into the journey of how our two unified Technologies built a successful Cisco and Ingram Micro relationship. It's almost like a view to be tech Avenger story, If you will, you'll get to hear the ups, the downs and the birth of a superhero company that you may not have yet heard of in the tech partner space. But just like any superhero back story, we have to start at the beginning. So, Jason, today, for entertainment purposes, I'm doubling you and our to the main character. You okay with that? I'm good with that. Awesome. And James? Sorry, but you are sidekick for today. That's all right. I didn't bring my tights and my cape, but I think we'll be able to get by. Awesome. So, Jason, I did some espionage level research on your origin story. And don't get scared by that. I mean, I just looked at your bio on our two site. I looked at the bio, and I was actually pleasantly surprised to learn that you spent quite a time in corporate America. Seven years, And you were really killing the game. You know, promotions, accolades, the works. But you left it all behind to help build our two. I got to know. Did you get bit by the B two b Tech bug? What made you inspired to make the career pivot? Good question. So, listen, technology is a great business to be in, right? There's no doubt about that. Truth be told, my brother being talked about going out on his own. He's an amazing technologist. The idea of partnering with him to build a business to build a great business, of course, in a recession whatever the smart right goes into business and recession. The family business, of course. But the idea of building a great business in technology and a great industry was much more appealing than kind of staying in the financial services industry at the time. For sure. And you know, my my time in corporate America had a lot of success there. But I like to women to lose on my own merits. And so that was very attractive and moving into the small business game and getting the self employment game. And then, of course, nobody know better people to do it with than my brother and a good friend of ours. Absolutely, Just like a true hero. You know, you want those challenges to overcome and fight through. But some great businesses are actually born out of recessions, and that's so that's really cool to me. So later down the line, after you know you left corporate America you're building up are to you actually partnered with Cisco and Ingram. So I'm curious to know how that partnership came to be and why you joined forces. Yeah, another great question. So I mean, Cisco just has a great tradition right, your reputation and we were technology first company, right? So at the end of the day, we wanted to make sure that we're partnering with companies that were We feel our most innovative about the best quality of of technology support to our customers in Cisco fit the bill and all of those all those agendas or criteria. And so we partnered very early with Cisco in there, and, you know, people have their their challenges with Cisco, but the logo will definitely give you some credibility. The partnership criteria to be a Cisco partner gives some credibility walking in the door,...

...and and we knew that we wanted to be an advanced technology game. Cisco plays really well in advance technology game. We also knew that we were going to compete against some really large partners while being very small and growing the business. And so we wanted to make sure that we be brought credibility along with that. And so that was a big piece of that. And Ingram Micro were always relationship first on top of that, right? So its technology, its relationship with the 22 largest pillars here at our two, um and I would tell anybody that listens, that it's all about the people at Ingram Micro. Always had amazing relationships, always dealt with great people, and they've always been great supporting or two and helping to build our business. James, what are your thoughts on that, like with your partnership and everything there any cool or awesome things that have happened as a result? So many, you know, these guys have have become, you know, not just great business partners, but great friends over the years. You know, I think you know, there's actually it's funny because, you know, we there's a number of other folks that have supported supported arts who had Ingram over the years, you know, even before I did. And, you know, I've been I've been doing it for quite a while as well. But, uh, and and really, we even some of them have left Ingram and we all still keep in touch, really, on almost daily basis, were all still, you know, texting each other and whatnot. And so, really, you know, again, I kind of approach it the same way. And I think that's why we why we sync up so well is that to me. It's all about the relationship first, you know, Not only does it make work fun, I mean, you know, literally working with your friends and people that you enjoy working with. But it also gives you that trust factor and which goes both ways. I mean, you know, I think from my perspective, I know that anything that we do to help support our two Is going to pay dividends for ingram that they're going to be loyal, that they're gonna help us out and do anything that we need from them. And I like to think that it goes the other way to that. Part of the reason why they have remained that way with us is that they know that because of the connection we've built, you know, if they need anything, they know that we're 100% going to bat for them in any way that we can just let me come over the top and a little bit, too. And I always say that, you know, and Graham always treated us like a bigger partner that we were right, and that was always super important to us. But I think James is right. It's always been about. Maybe we have had, you know, a lot of representation over the years. And we are great friends with every one of them, every single, uh, you know, actually, we have. We think of Micro is awesome and they're all great people. And James Point, I think there's been that mutual trust and bond that's been developed. And whenever they have opportunities to help support us in our marketing efforts, right over new programs, I feel like we're always one of the first ones engaged. And that's been crucial in helping us build our business, whether it's training employees, helping US certifications, allowing us to bring our customers to their experience center, helping support that financially, help driving new deals. I mean, it's been a an awesome relationship from Day one, even when the competitors walk in the door. At this point, I look at them and say, Listen, you know, you might be great, but I will tell you that relationship is so deep within their own micro that things would have to go sideways for a very long time for us to consider changing our business. Definitely. I'm seeing a really great common line here of relationship first and that trust and with any business trust is very important in order to have that long term connection. So kind of diving more into that on the partnership with Cisco. Like, what are some things that have been positively impacted in your business as a result of the partnership? Yeah, Cisco, I mean, you know, again their technology leader right there. Quality of innovation, their products they continue to deliver to market. Portman has been great for us also, and their thought leadership in the space. Right? So that's one of the things that we take really seriously here at R2, we try to engage the local Cisco teams are engaged leadership team, actually, Ingram micro help support us and becoming part of the S and the advisory board of Cisco. So we get some access to a lot of executive level leadership. And so we go to these meetings and we asked them, you know, what is the internal talk track where the things that the Cisco seen down the line was the vision that they have, you know, where do they want their partners to be? And we do embrace that because we do know it's a technology driven...

...conversation and we start working with our customers ahead of time. And so Cisco has a vision that a lot of companies don't have and our customers necessarily don't happen. So we try to take that help deliver that to our market. Yeah, and tying into that seems like R two is really into that kind of vision and innovation. And Actually, while I was on R2 side, I saw a really strong statement that stood out to me and said, Innovation is not an accident. It's a culture. Can you tell us more about that? So that's Jamey's big thing, right? My brothers, he runs the engineering side of the business. I mean, listen, we look for engineers who are passionate about engineering, right? There's a lot of great employees out there. The two a really good job, but maybe don't have the passion and to look to always be improving themselves, right? Achievement oriented, innovating, looking for solutions for the customers, you know, finding ways to say yes to customers, right? And so that's the thing that we can challenge ourselves with all the time our engineering team is. We always say that. Hey, they're always really good. At least two disciplines are working on a third right to always challenge ourselves to be better with the idea that we can make better decisions for customers as we understand how, uh, specific decisions. And, you know, specific technology affects the rest of the architecture, right? So the better that we are there, the more innovative that we could be there, the faster we can solve customer problems and battery solve customer problems. Just, you know, obviously, the more customers are going to acquire because it's just a better experience. Absolutely. I love companies that ask, Like what if this does work instead of Wow, What are we going to do to fix this? It's a really forward thinking and creative, strong mindset. I always say, Don't tell me why you can't tell me how you can exactly how does that resonate with you, James? So I think the biggest thing to me that I that I kind of wear that innovation piece resonates is you know, I always look at our two as kind of that, you know, thought leader. From that perspective, you know, whenever there's a new kind of industry trend that's coming up or even Cisco, you know, comes out and is driving new product. One of the first things I'm gonna do is is called actually, Jamie, Jason's brother, you know, from a technology standpoint, kind of get his perspective on it because, you know, I'm not. I'm not as deep into the technical side as as these guys are. For the most part, you know, I have a little bit of basis, but not as deep into it. But they always helped me to kind of put these things in context and understand, you know, Hey, is this real or is this marketing? Is this Is this real or is this something that you know that isn't really gonna last too long? So, you know, that's that's how I look at it is they're always innovative from that standpoint. And again, you know, just always looking for new ways to do things, coming to us with different ideas that have helped us. I mean, some of the things that they've asked us to help with its actually helped inform us on better ways to interact with other partners as well. Um, so it's really mutually beneficial so before our two and Cisco were out there successfully providing that superior service and innovating and maybe even helping companies fight cybercrime. James. From my understanding, there was a little bit of a time when you were experiencing some challenges incorporating Ingram's engineering services into your sales process. So as you were trying to bring those offerings to your customers and try to level up those superpowers, what were the challenges that you experience and how did you overcome them? So I think I can kind of get to give some perspective on that, Um, you know, So basically, at one point, you know, are two came to us and said, Hey, you know, we're having some challenges from a scaling perspective in terms of our ability to, you know, do you know kind of the solution architect type work. So building out, you know, building out solutions for our customers. It's always a challenge because there's always more work to be done than people to do it, and, you know it can be expensive for partners to bring those resources on. So they came to us and and said, Hey, you know, how can Ingram help? How can you help augment what we what we have there and and And, you know, we do have, you know, a lot of services around that that area, and so we brought, you know, brought those to bear. We, you know, talk to them about how to engage, and it worked. But there was There were definitely some, you know, challenges from a standpoint of how they engage with us. Really. The big thing is ultimately, you know,...

...there's a lot of what you're talking about. On the partner side of the business is speed execution. So the faster that they can actually get a solution and a quote in front of a customer, the more likely they are to win the deal. It's just I mean, that's just one of the fundamental pieces of the game. You got to do it right, But you gotta do it fast. And you know, our teams are very thorough. So we're asking a lot of questions, you know, what option do you want here? What options you want there, you know, and ultimately that's the most important. But also back and forth can actually create some kind of just challenges from a speed execution standpoint. So one of the things that we we came up with was, Hey, instead of everything going back and forth, the email, why don't we incorporate? You know, we're all we're all Cisco, you know, partners here. We're all working with Cisco. Why don't we incorporate Cisco's wax teams product from a chat perspective to help out? So, you know, basically, what we did is we created a space with the R two teams of both their sales and engineering teams, as well as in Grams pre sales support team that works with our two, and it's really helped to streamline the process, improve the speed of communication, gets things in front of the people a little bit better because, like we have different experts on our team that are, you know, some people are more experts in collaboration technology. Some people are more experts in security, your data center and, you know, ultimately one of the you know the folks from our two again, whether it's a sales team marketing they can cover. I'm sorry, sales team or engineering, they can come into that space and say, Hey, here's this opportunity I have and then the right person can jump on it, whereas, you know the email you might be forwarding and back and forth between three or four people to find the right person. So you know, And I think at this point, and Jason, you can you know, you can correct me if I'm wrong here, but I think that our you know, pre sales support and engineering team has kind of become a very valuable part of your process. And and the research that you use in your business? Yeah, I went as far as the extended team. I agree with James and they got to clean that room. And it also allows us to do a little brainwashing, as you put it in the groom's favorite customers. The team, because the room name not. But let's see if this is an old favorite customer, of course. But no, it really has to prove our collaboration and just a scale. Right. Scaling is very difficult, right? Um, be able to offload the work and kinda going back to the trusting the credibility and the trust and knowing that it's done right is very important to the point where we've got sales engineers on staff as well. Um and and right now he's been very busy and things are super stressful. And so the ability to extend that workload into the angle micro team and have sales people work directly with with the White Glove team and then our ourselves engineering team can actually be involved in some kind of watch over everything. Make sure that is correct, really has absolutely helped us helped us scale, especially in a year like growth here that we're having this year, we wouldn't have been able to be successful without it. It's that integral to us. So great process changed again. Anger, micro, making us feel important. We can have our own room with the entire team. So relationship first, credibility, trust all those things are going to make this what it was. It's really an example of the innovation because it's something that are two really was in the first that we did that with and since then we've been able to extend that to some of our other partners, and it's really helped to help us to make that service better and more valuable for partners across the country. But their rooms are like second favorite third favorite for favorite. Of course, of course, of course. So I like that connection between the trust and relationship building and innovation and growth definitely does come with some challenges, for sure. But since we talked about the challenges, let's talk about some winds. So, Jason, when we recently spoke prior, you mentioned that you've had some successes with Cisco's digital network architecture. Can you speak to that for us? Sure. Listen. Very innovative technology, right? Of course. Being introduced in a hot topic pre covid covid took a little break, but post covid been amazing technology. So, you know, again, we talked about earlier. How do we select our manufacturer? Partners that surround innovation, quality of technology, quality support. And so I would tell you that the D. N A. Has...

...been a game changer for our two. And can I imagine the whole software defined access world? We've embraced it, you know, strongly. Here are two articles actually the software to find company for our customers and so d n A. Has been a separator from from from the competition from our competitors from our manufacturer partners allowed us to go to market to our customers to show them the benefits, transitioning from a legacy architecture into a digital network architecture. And it really helps drive our business forward. In fact, it's gonna It's gonna help build the foundation on top of it for a lot of business, you know, in the future as well. For us, I'm just helping deliver the right technology to write and to touch a little bit more on that SD access. What are some benefits to have some examples of benefits of Cisco's software defined access model. So awesome Platform. Right, So its DNA integrated with stuff. Watching Cisco's identity services engine the right solution. And it's a much more secure way to gain access to the network right and as well as driving a lot of automation. So while simplifying management for our customers, it's also making sure that their network is more secure right. So whether you're connecting to a wired network or a wired wireless network, access roles are all the same. It's kind of a game changer, right, and that's a global global architecture. So we're able to walk into customers. Show them that basically, you know, in today's ransomware world, you mentioned that earlier, right, so We are fighting cybercrime every single day, especially municipality world, huge targets. And so to be able to walk in and say, Hey, I'm going to make your life easier And by the way, I'm going to really up your game when it comes to network security and role based access is a really strong value prop for our customers, right, especially as technology becomes more complex. You know, I T departments in general, are their lives aren't getting any easier. And so when I can show them that I can do that for them, I can solve the biggest challenge. Super compelling. Definitely. What are some challenges of networks without SD access? Maybe they haven't tapped into it. And how does SD access address them? If you have any villain analogies, they're welcome here. You know there's a There's a lack of visibility, obviously leaning on a lot of legacy third party Softwares to give them the visibility that they would like to have. And there's challenges around maintenance and keeping that I mean, I always say technology departments are are ones that are asked to do more with less all the time, and there's just there's just a time challenge for most of our customers. And so, unfortunately, you know, C priorities end up turning into fires because they just don't have the manpower to deal with that. Any changes where legacy architectures are going to require manual changes? Right where that all of that goes away in the digital network, architectural world and software defined access world and again the visibility into the network goes up tremendously. It has self healing aspects of it, where problems get solved without without their interactions, tickets can get opened right automatically. It was just attacked with the right solution support. So it's really there's a lot of examples that helps make their lives easier and listen. Most importantly, the technology just works. There's a lot of technology out there that doesn't work. It's architecture. We've implemented this technology successfully in multiple customers already, Uh, so there's a lot of work up front, but once that once the technology is in, you know it just works. Customers are bragging like I try to break it and I can't break it. So it's awesome. And customers who actually say it's pretty hysterical. Dude. Well, uh, what do different seminars with the Cosmo and he'll walk in and say, Well, why did you do? And he'll say, because I'm lazy, he jokes around. But he's like, I love the ability to plug or switch into the network and to push code through DNA center and and I don't have to do a single thing. All I have to do is that DNA, some of the switches there, and by the way, it configures the switch exactly the way that you would do it. If you draw it perfectly in a book, all right, so it's really powerful statement, right? Especially when you just mentioned like somebody said, It's indestructible, almost like you can't break it. It's like the Vibranium of network. That's right, Vibranium Full...

Circle, the vibranium of networking. I love it so customer focus and excellent service are definitely shared ideal. It's between Ingram Micro Cisco are two and what I imagine in my head together the B two b Tech Avengers. But I would like to hear some customer success stories as a result of this really cool company partnership. Oh boy, as far as our partnership with anger, maybe listen, we have us we haven't done in a long time, by the way, and we have to change that. But I think we're leveraging, you know for sure. Pre covid This is the Cisco Experience Center, All right, *** Micro has been awesome for us, so it's a great tool that I love to use that allows us to get our customers out of the day to day right. We can get more technology in front of a customer in 24 hours and experience center that we can in 10 meetings on site right. It allows us to have our customers get their hands dirty, allows us to put any of the technologies together, get a wide array of technologies in front of them. And plus, I think they just love the experience, too, because everything about our two is about experience. We tend to do. You know, I called Buffalo Knee, and I know that's the right term of the wrong term, but we tend to do the buffalo and maybe do Niagara or go get a hot dog at Ted's or Beef on Weck and Charlie the Butcher, right? You gotta do wings when you're in Buffalo, right? Gosh, God forbid, if you put ranch dressing by the way, uh, on wings. You can't do that in Buffalo either, but we kind of get involved in the whole thing, have a fun time with our customers. So it ends up being both the technology technology trip as well as a relationship trip. And you know, James and team are super hospitable and they join us the entire time and again, they're great people. Also helps us really build a relationship. On top of that, we have to tell you that we've had to. Success is too big successes. You know, more around U. C s back in the day were able to get the UCS technology in front of customers. Have them give us, you know, well, well into six figure deals in both occasions. So that was awesome. Well, every good superhero narrative always has a fun spin off story. So let's take a quick moment to go on a related but different tangent to the question that we ask everyone here on B two b tech talk and I'll ask this to both of you. Where do you see technology going in the next year, especially with things in the works like the infrastructure building past and the growing need for data storage or anything else. Love to hear your thoughts or predictions. All right, listen, internally, security is a gigantic conversation, right? Uh, cybercrime is only going to continue. Customers are going to have to continue to, uh oh. As the technology landscape continues to grow, there's going to be more threat factors. And you no more need to address those potential potential opportunities for cybercriminals to penetrate networks. Right? So security is always gonna be a conversation. In fact, it is a part of conversation of every single technology that we do and software defined. Going to continue to grow as people return to office. Campus architecture is going to be more important. Hybrid workforce is here to stay. I don't know that it's here to stay in, You know, by itself, I think you're still going to see return return to to offices. But you know, we talk about sassy conversations, right and being able to secure the hybrid workforce wherever you are, whether you're in the corporate office, whether you're around the globe somewhere, and so those are technologies that are going to continue to grow as well, and that's where our two focuses today and then cloud storage. You know, in our world, you've been mid market focus for a lot of our time here or two. I feel like mid market, one of the last ones to embrace clown. But we're going to see Cloud Growth grow as well. And so were we see are playing. That is our ability to help companies gain access to the cloud and really more important to gain secure access to cloud security cloud for customers to make sure that they can leverage of architecture in a very secure manner. Yeah, I would add on to that that, you know, as you're kind of bringing all those different technologies together. And this happens on the security side and the cloud side where you're no longer able to really just deploy one particular type of technology to secure your network, no longer able to just use one cloud application or cloud provider, I think one of the big things that Jason touched on this earlier with SD accesses the automation that ties all this stuff together. So, you know,...

...automation on the security side, automation on on the on the cloud side. Really making it palatable for all these technologies to be deployed together, you know, without having to do a lot of manual intervention. So that's that's one of the big things that I see you know, both in terms of technologies. But then also on our business, in our business, you know, we're one of the biggest focus is that we have is in trying to help automate some of the process around, you know, just quoting ordering things like that that are kind of fundamental, uh, and kind of going back to what we talked about earlier helping with that speed execution piece so that we can get things turned around more quickly for our partners, you know, those would be the main things that I would say is you know how automation ties all of it together. Definitely. Jason James, Are there any special perks or benefits you can share related to Ingram or two or any of that that might be valuable or interesting for partners who are listening? I guess what I would say to that from from the benefit standpoint, is that really the more that you engage with Ingram, the more that you're willing to talk to us about your business. The more that you're willing to talk to us about what your goals, our aspirations challenges, the more that we can help. So the more benefits you can kind of reap from that. And that's kind of what you know. What we've built the Archer relationship on is, you know, these guys have always been very, very transparent about what they're trying to do in their business, And it really has helped us to, you know, to to serve them better. And so what? I would say, two partners they're listening is engage with your Ingram Micro rap. Let them know what's going on. Let them know that you want a partner and put a little bit of time into it. And if you do that, you're going to reap a lot of benefits and perks that just come up along the way with a lot of different programs that we offer. Yeah, I mean, it's just saying, I think I think the whole time it's like love, anger and anger will love you back, right? It's just the truth. It's just the truth. I agree with everything that James just said. I mean you know, talk to your teams, see the tools and the resources and the services that you can take advantage of. It is absolutely helped us, whether it's financial and the ability to reinvest in our business, whether it's services like the White Glove team, that we can help and help us scale. Whether it's our training, training services, they offer as well, both for our customers as well as for us. We've leveraged tremendously. By the way, we've been dreaming about, uh, Ingram's ability that they've actually helped us in understanding all of the different rebate programs from our manufacturers who were eligible for, which is absolutely directly impacted our profitability, which absolutely effects or effects. Excuse me, our ability to reinvest in our business and grow our business, and those are always very important things. So I mean, I would tell you we have some very serious revenue streams, straight bottom line dollars and cents to our to that Ingram has made us aware of, and, uh, so it's allowed us to be a more profitable company to get re investing that back into our engineering resources, which then of course, ends up in a better experience for our customers. Absolutely. Gentlemen, thank you so much for coming on today and playing along with our B two b tech superhero theme, we talked about the vibranium of the text space, the ups and downs your origin story from here, it's to infinity and beyond, you know. But for those who are listening and want to find out more in detail about what we talked about today, how can they do that? So go to your micro dot com. Go to your Ingram Micro rap. You know, let them know that you're interested in helping to build your business. Build your Cisco business specifically, and we have a ton of resources that can help out. Jason, did you want to drop any of your information as well? Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Don't listen to anybody. Reach Reach out of us is going to reach out to info at r t u t dot com That's our Armenian. Now you can hit me at Jason dot org d o h e r t y dot at rtve dot com No problem. Happy to help? Definitely. If if they were just wants to bounce some ideas of people. Definitely. Definitely. There's so much to be done, so I'm not worried about competitive. Absolutely thank you all...

...for tuning in and listening and subscribing to B two. B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro. If you like this episode or have a question, join the discussion on Twitter with the hashtag B two b tech talk. You've been listening to B two b Tech Talk with Ingram Micro Cisco Edition. Taking your business a level up B two b Tech Talk is a joint production by Sweet Fish Media and Ingram Micro Ingram Micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan to not miss an episode. Subscribe today in your favorite podcast platform, Okay?.

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