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

Episode · 3 weeks ago

What’s new with Cisco and the Ingram Micro transformation center

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Functioning for over 10 years now, the main focus of the Ingram Micro business transformation center is to empower and enable customers through hands-on experiences of the technology. 

In this episode, we look at some of the cutting-edge advancements that have taken place recently and the collaboration with Cisco. 

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Daniel Stewart, Business Transformation Center engineer at Ingram Micro, about: 

  • Cisco demos available in BTC
  • The importance of the beta atmosphere
  • How Ingram micro makes it easier and better to work with Cisco 

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.

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, I'll level up. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Daniel Stewart, senior business transformation engineer at Ingram micro. Daniel, welcome, hello, glad to be back. Excellent. Well, today we are talking about what's new with Cisco and the Ingram Micro Business Transformation Center. But to start off, Dan, for those who are new to Ingram Micro, tell us about the BTC. Yeah, so BTC, or acronym, stands for Business Transformation Center and we always like acronyms and technology. So we gotta shrink that down. But, as the name kind of says, we are all about looking at technology in different ways. So the main focus of a business transformation center is really too empower and enable our customers through hands on experience of the technology. We've had this facility inside of our Buffalo New York Ingram micro campus for probably well over ten years now. Has Gone through a couple of different name changes, but the focus has really always been to bring partners in, to train our internal teams as well by seeing the technology, putting it in action and then really enable ourselves through different verticals that are on display. So across our facility we have areas that are built around ideas like education and healthcare and retail up into our our latest launch is actually our new e sports area, where we take these verticals, these concepts and put the tech analogy on display. So people...

...that walk through, whether it be in person, which we're getting back to now, where obviously we're open virtually to see technology as it would be applied to those respective spaces, excellent. Well, you know, getting that that hands on is uh is certainly it's it's candy, a really eye opening experience because you understand it, you really are are kind of literally getting your hands on it or virtually getting your virtual hands on it. So I guess let's talk about some of those Cisco Demos that are available in the BTC. First, tell us about Mouraki and catalyst integrations. Yeah, that's a new one, with the Cisco live happening June of two or July of two. Actually they announced a lot of new capabilities and technologies, and the one that is near to my heart is that of the Cisco Enterprise Networks portfolio, which includes the mouraki portfolio and the catalyst portfolio. And really those two world olds have been separate, you know, you had to kind of know which direction you wanted to take your customer and which way they wanted to manage their solutions. But announced recently and now on display in our environment is the merging of those two worlds where now we can take catalyst switches, you know, at launch and have them at least monitored by the Moeraki Dashboard. And with the investment and partnership of Cisco, we have the ability to utilize the catalyst switching environment that we have, the Mieraki switching environment that we have, and we've brought those two worlds together so we can see more about our technology and a single interface. Uh. So that's been exciting to take the first step in that journey. And then, you know, we do work well with Cisco in a Beta or early field test capability across many of their product portfolios and here's no difference. Well, we're gonna be working with them as they look into the next phase of this moeraki integration, which is their management side of catalysts...

...into the Moeraki Dashboard. So we're excited to again use our products at our disposal put them into unique offerings and, honestly, you know, we get to do this because our environment is a non production, you know, lab assimilating, a pseudo design. We actually do run a lot of things in this environment, but we do this so our partners don't have to write, they don't consume an extra switch they may have or look at different, you know, nfr orders, or you look at dollars they may or may not have, especially in the current environment we have, were inventory and orders are such a long time frame away. We have the equipment we can set aside and transform into these different Variablesmaki and this integration being an exciting when we continue to journey with as well. Well. So you mentioned the being in this Beta environment, or, I guess, would those be the early field trials? I guess. Just just tell me a little bit about why that's especially helpful and especially unique to be able to have that type of data Beta atmosphere to put these things to use and to test almost definitely, because, you know, we get the first crack at a lot of these softwares with the Beta programs we get to enroll in. So we're involved in security, Beta programs, collaboration, enterprise data center, any of the architectures that are out there. We have the technology and the capabilities and the partnership with Cisco to say yeah, Ingram Micro, you have this demo, demonstration space, this transformation center, let's put that to good use and we can provide feedback on these pre launched products. That takes back to Cisco that they can help mobilize their offerings because of it. And there's been several times where we've imparted changes to platforms and they value their feedback where we see those resolved in the actually live and purchasable component of those products. And the Nice thing is, because we get kind of first crack at some of these things, we get to train our internal teams as well, so when they do hit public launching consumption, we're already ahead of the curve because we've seen it, we've tested it,...

...we got in front of it and now we can be at the ready to educate our customers because of the time we spent with those platforms before they really hit the wild. Yeah, that's interesting. It's certainly helpful. Gives kind of the the leg up. So Peek behind the curtain? Yeah, exactly. Well, so, you know, Cisco is well known for its its networking tools, but their collaboration portfolio has been growing a lot lately. So tell us about this. The collaboration hardware from Cisco. Collaboration is an interesting one. It's what I refer to when I give trainings on the Cisco Architecture portfolios to our teams. I always equated to like the sexy architecture, because it's the one you really can see, right. It's the one on display. You can see Cisco phones, you can see their endpoint hardware and Webex well renowned brand name on your laptops and pcs and phones while consuming the software, where a lot of other Cisco components to get pushed to the infrastructure side, right, the kind of the back rooms, you know, those footshes and access points you don't really see, right. But collaboration. Yeah, they make themselves known. They want to put these, you know, very aesthetically looking products on your desk in your offices, in your conference rooms, and we want to showcase that as well. So collaboration hardware along with their software. We actually have a dedicated associate on our Cisco team that I work with. His name is Matt White. He does a great job of keeping our center up to date with again, Beta software, like on the Webex and communications manager side, but also with those relationships bringing the technology of hardware into our centers as well, and that's definitely a leg up for Cisco right it's it's one of those collaboration companies that can do both the software and the hardware side. So making that hardware visible in all our facilities and verticals is very important, namely, you know, the ones that I like using, because not really a Clab guy myself, but when I given these rooms...

...like Oh, that's a shiny new thing, I want to touch that thing. We just actually installed a Webex board pro seventy five, so a seventy five inch display all in one unit. That's also a touchscreen, White Board and Video Conference unit all in one. So it's interactive board. You know, Webex Board, appropriately named Uh, is now an updated model in their portfolio. We just recently got and mounted in our Cisco Experience Center. That will be part of our video conference offering, along with our various room kit series. We also have in there as well, because you can link the two together and it's always a fun experience to be in our room looking one direction at our our room kit plus, sitting with dual monitors, and then it mirrors the content behind you and our Webex board. Uh So, anybody in our experience center, which is kind of as a large large boardroom table, can look at the front. You can look at the back if you're poor of eyesight, you know, you can kind of pick your way where you want to integrate these platforms and it's all done through soft were which is very handy, to say so myself. Well, so I'm wanted to just follow up on the board part of it because I know we'll go over some of the other tools as well. But so the Webex board, it's more than just a touch screen monitor, right. I mean it's does it have, you know, the built in built in camera, all those things? That part of it. Yeah, so it's really a combination device. So a lot of times when you look at a video conference setup, you're gonna have a video endpoints like in this Cisco's case like a room kit device, and then you're gonna have microphones on the table and you might have a third party display from your favorite, you know, display vendor of choice, and you have to kind of work all these systems together, which can be great. A lot of flexibility, which is nice, but a Webex board kind of combines all that in one right. So Cisco has this display. In this case, ours is a seventy five in display that you know. Like you said, it also is a touch screen, where a lot of times you get into conference rooms you might only have a static display only with your...

...video conference. Here it's touch screen, so I can use at the board as if I'm doing a presentation, use the whiteboard functionality with the virtual the pen you can use with it, but also it can act as digital signage. So you want to use this board in a proper function when it's not in a video conference type environment. It can now display signage. So if you have this in a boardroom, great, people can come in and see what's going on about the facility before they enable the video conference. But an area that CISCO is really getting into is putting more technology on display to everybody with their smart workspaces. Where now we're gonna have this interactive display like a Webex board, being able to navigate and help you waypoint find different conference rooms and air quality functionality within your facility, integrating more of the collaboration platform with your Moroaki and catalyst implementation, bringing these worlds together and and we like to show that off, as well as Cisco ringing these technologies again to life. So they're in the BTC. I understand that there's uh, you know, kind of actual vignettes of Um, you know, work from anywhere spaces. Tell us about what some of those pieces look like and what are some of the hardware and software that's integrated in there? That's interesting because this is one of our newer areas within our BTC. So we're always looking to evolve our environment to, you know, look at new spaces think of environments little bit differently, and we had a section inside of our experience center that actually was housing our data center infrastructure for a little bit. It was. It's on a raised floor, so if you know data center environment, you raise the Florida run cables underneath and we removed that because conference rooms and noise and fans don't really go well together. So we've evolved that space a little bit to kind of have many conference rooms over time. But we've had a lot of conversation over the past two plus years about this whole hybrid work strategy and this...

...remote and this, you know, all these capabilities we now are really delving into. That's more than just, you know, nice to have. These are critical features that any company doing employee satisfaction or job recruiting needs to have these types of abilities to work really anywhere. So inside of our experience center we have a separate area that we kind of divided in half. One half was emulating a work from home space where we actually installed a nice desk, hence kind of like a home look home field area, and then on the other side of that same room we have uh, kind of a makeup coffee bar and that allows us to do the work from anywhere approach and, you know, we talk about it. We can see this in a lot of presentations, but when you start seeing the technology of what could be in your home, that's where we get to see you know, collaboration, not display again a little bit. We got these room kit minis, which are little UH freestanding fifteen inch monitor speaker devices all in one that actually are portable. So if you have a dedicated office in your house, Great, you know it makes it very easy to do a conference. But if you have to be mobile in your room, as you know, kids are in this room or the dogs barking over there, you can just pick up this video conference unit and move it to a more desirable space in your home. And it's all powered by Webex on the back end, which is very helpful to make your house as flexible to a work environment as possible. So that type of device versus things like the Webex desk and desk pros, which are like twenty four and twenty seven inch monitors. We can move these pieces of hardware in and out of the same space depending on what the customers looking to see. They want to see the mini on display. will put that up there and how it resolves that work from home space. They want to see the prow in Monitor, Webex unit all in one, we'll put that on display and look at that maybe as a primary or secondary monitor connected to a laptop. So again we get to really see collaboration in a house and what you can really put in there to make the best video experience as possible. But we...

...also want to get into saying well, Hey, what if we installed a network switch, maybe from the company deployed equipment into Your House that could also power your laptop over USBC. or or look at Moeraki, maybe coming into your facility, deployed by your I t staff, again to give you secure communication back to the headquarters with, you know, no VPN client intervention on your side. So taking technologies that exist in many different capabilities and putting them into use in a work from home space. And then, you know, we take that same idea and say, well, what if I was working anywhere not at home? Let's go to that coffee shop and we put things like an access point in our ceiling, which you'd see in a office, and you want to see how you manage that guest experience from a access point deployment, which was going to have you resolved to a coffeehouse Wifi for security purposes, and an IP camera. Again, Raki has cameras. I would like to put that. So we added one to that space to see that. Yeah, YOU'RE gonna be on surve Alance, which makes sense because everywhere you go as cameras now here's how you can take advantage of cameras as an I t administrator and why they'd be a good idea for your facilities there. And then, you know, what does the end user look like? We have a laptop there and while that may seem very innocent, you know we have a lot of software when it comes to security on those, like duo for multi factor, umbrella for DNS resolutions. We have any connect for VPN clients, sometimes ago without Vpn if needed. So it's all about having the capabilities in this space to kind of trigger some talking points, but also it's flexible to a partner's demand. Right, Hey, I want to see this. I wish we did that. Are You doing this capability? And we can use this new space to really help explore those types of solutions and maybe hopefully trigger something that you may not be asking for today, but we can do in the capacity as well well. So we know that Ingram micro and Cisco has this partnership and and they offer a lot of sins there. So...

I guess I would ask how does Ingram micro make it easier and better to work with CISCO? Basically, what are the the other ingroom resources that are available for Cisco authorized partners. Well, you have the BTC right, so we're a great valued resource. You know, we are part of your Ingram micro business. We are free for our services. But in enjoyment with that, we also have this learning program called Cisco Voyage. Will we help you one stop shop kind of navigate all your education needs when it comes to learning about these technologies, whether it be sales or technical, and you know, the BTC is a part of that journey of learning through partner voyage dot com, which is our voyage program platform. For more of a sales side, we have a thing called partner go, which really a self service ordering management type tool that Cisco and Ingram micro have launched for a few years now, but it is definitely something that we want to make sure partners are aware of. Is that can be very beneficial when looking up where order status maybe cuts out a lot of that back and forth with the email chains to your sales reps by doing things in a self service type portal. So partner go as a huge benefit from a sales side as amongst as our other services programs, right we have a newer launched customer experience program we have our professional services offering through our digital transformation services team and then newly launched as our Ingram Micro ex vantage program uh. This is a new way for partners and internal associates the like to interface with Ingram micro's offerings as well. So if you haven't heard of axdvantage yet, I'm sure we'll have a podcast coming up at some point on that program because that's gonna be something that's gonna be, hopefully, very revolutionary to how we engage our services across the board from Ingram. Excellent well, a lot of great information there. For as we do start to wrap up our episode, we always ask our guests the same final question, and that's where do you see tech knowledgey going and the next year? So let's...

...get the crystal wall out and and tell me what are you seeing in the next year? One of the things that we display on our new higher tours of the business transformation center, which I do, uh, a Cisco portion of, along with my other teammates who do other vertical multi vendor supports, is augmented reality and to some extent the virtual reality capabilities augmented reality. We have a couple of vendors that are in our center that do that and it's just fascinating when you look at how you can help someone troubleshoot, you know remote doctor. One of the examples we have is actually someone taking apart in engine and they do this through the augmented reality to point it pieces and tear it apart and do things of a physical component through this software and headset and the like to help you troubleshoot and look at your environment in different ways, and I think it's just picking up steam now. It's becoming more affordable, there's more vendors coming into the market that are starting to do that and I think that's an evolution of ver Su reality, which kind of closes you off in the world, and this puts things in your world in your space, and I think it's gonna be very transformative in many verticals, let alone helping, you know, doctors, you know engineering, whatever it may be. I think that's a powerful piece that I like to see and continue to see really further advancements over the next year. Yeah, we just did an interview about that and it is it's really fascinating that this headset basically that you wear, you know when one piece goes over your eye but the you know the rest of your field division isn't obscured. You know, you don't have this this big, you know, bulky thing in front of you. It's you're in there, you're still there. Yeah, exactly, exactly. Well, for listeners who wanted to find out more about what we talked about today, how can they reach out? Yeah, so we have our homepage of the business transformation center on the Ingram micro imagine next site. You can find us there or simply email us at BTC and Ingram micro dot com. Or we actually do have a virtual tour as well at two or dot I am Dash...

Demo Dot Com. If you want to take a quick spin in three d through our facility, you can see exactly what we have to offer, and I'm more than happy to help you on that journey as well. Excellent. Well, thank you, Daniel. I really appreciate your time and and all of your insight today. Are you very welcome. Happy to be here and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B to B tech talk with Ingram micro. If you liked this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time. I'm shelby scare talk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro Cisco Edition. Taking Your Business, I'll 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.

In-Stream Audio Search

NEW

Search across all episodes within this podcast

Episodes (447)