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

Episode · 1 week ago

What to expect in the uninterruptible power service market in 2022


The uninterruptible power service (UPS) market has gone through many iterations over the years.

How will it continue to evolve in 2022 and what opportunities should partners be looking out for?

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Gordon Lord, senior director of IT distribution and channel strategy at Schneider Electric, about:

- How the market has evolved

- What Schneider Electric will be focusing on in 2022

- The Ingram Micro/Schneider Electric partnership

For more information, contact your Ingram Micro representative.

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 talkwith ingram Micro the place to learn about new technology and technologicaladvances before they become mainstream, this podcast is sponsored by the ingramMicro one event dream of possibility craft the future and think of thethings nobody else has Our customers arrive as individuals but quicklybecome one. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk withingram Micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk. And my guest today isGordon Lord, senior director of I. T. Distribution and channel strategy forSchneider Electric. Gordon? Welcome Shelby. Thanks for having me reallylooking forward to it. Excellent. Well, so today we're looking ahead at 2022and what's in store for the uninterruptible power service marketwith a pc by Schneider Electric. But before we look ahead, let's look back.So a PC was launched in the early eighties as a physical I. T.Infrastructure solution and it merged into Schneider Electric in 2000 andseven. So that you know, that was a time when it seemed like nearly all itwas definitely brick and mortar. So how has this uninterruptible paddlecategory really evolved in the last decades and especially in the last twoyears with the pandemic. Yeah, no, thank you Shelby. And again, thanks toyou and ingram Micro for for having me on the on the podcast. Today, you'reright, I mean the the category the market has evolved over, you know,since we began in the early early eighties where it was about you knowprotecting the hardware, you know, so we had you know, desktop ups is networkups is that we're there to back up you know network switches and servers. Andthen when you started to look at the early two thousands it was about voiceover I. P. And ensuring that the connectivity there build out of onpremise data centers. And you know we're at a point now where you know Ithink customers are really really focused focused on on efficiencysustainability. So we've evolved with Schneider Electric because as youmentioned were required in 2000 and seven. You know Schneider Electric isan is an energy management company that's really focused on on drivingthat efficiency and honestly in a in a very commendable way really looking athow do how do we become more sustainable for for our planet? Right.How do we reduce carbon emissions? So yeah it really went from from being allabout protecting the hardware to protecting the data to now more aboutthe efficiency and what what we can do for our planet. What we can do to bemore efficient and make better use of the energy and the resources that wehave today definitely. And that's that's interesting the evolution thathas been there and it shows that there's a strategy and a look ahead atwhat's coming and kind of trying to...

...stay on top of that. So looking at thisshift I mean you know workplace strategy has changed tremendously. Youknow we're in this hybrid workforce area era where we may not go back totraditional in the office, everybody in the same building type of workforce. SoThe pandemic obviously has had some side effects on this market and others.So what are some of the headwinds that you see for 2022 and how is a PCadjusting to those, you know? Great, great question. I mean it's, you know,it's been hard for everybody, you know, it's been hard for us as consumers, asfamilies, as businesses, you know, but we're very resilient, right? And welook at it and we've we've all gotten, you know, I can't believe this has beengoing on for for two years or so, right, and you know, we have to balance ourmental health and then we also have to balance, you know, what do we do tocontinue moving forward, you know, from a business perspective. So, you know,2020 was was very challenging and when you look at 2021 it was really theunknown. We we knew, I think most people had a had a pretty big dip inrevenue and in Q two, so everybody kind of looked at it and said, wow, we'regoing to see 2030% growth and and we did, we did really, really well in Qtwo and nobody knew what the second half was going to look like and youknow, I think we saw a lot of pent up demand, I think we saw you know a lotof people adapting as you mentioned. So so the we've seen a lot of strength in2021 you know and as we go into 2022 you know we're we're we're now in thehighest inflationary period we've seen in the last 40 years right? So you lookat I. T. Decision makers and even we as consumers are buying power has beendiminished you know I don't know that a lot of lot of mighty decision makersare going to get incremental budget you know in 2022 so they have to becreative and flexible and how they how they spend those dollars and you knowit's no secret I think a lot of people are getting ready for holiday shoppingor hopefully have done a lot of their holiday shopping by now but you knowit's taking longer to get goods whether they're you know gifts for your foryour family and friends or you know technology where you know some of it'smade here locally but some of it's made overseas. So you know those areabsolutely two things that that were very focused on and and trying to seewhat can we do, we've actually brought in a lot more products from overseasand we're actually looking at what can we do from from production here youknow in north America so um we're doing everything we can we're on on calls youknow even sometimes it's daily, right? But at least weekly to have thoseconversations to see what are we doing to be different. And again, how do wecontinue that resiliency moving into 2022? So you have brought a lot of the,are you saying like the, the materials to create products, you have importedthem and so now you're looking to create them here in the US or are youjust clarify that a little bit? Yeah, a...

...little bit of both. You know, if youlook at Schneider, we have, we have factories here in the in the US andthen we also have, you know, like, like most technology vendors, we have wehave product that's made overseas. So we're trying to have, I guess more of ahybrid approach, Right? I mean it's kind of like cloud, you know, you gotpublic cloud, you got private cloud, then you've got, you know, a mix ofboth. So I think we're kind of looking at things the same way, how do we howdo we continue to produce the way we are? But then look at thingsdifferently because you've got two things, when you look at supply chainsupply chain, you've got you've got a component shortage, right. I mean, Ithink, you know, when you look back, you know, a lot of the microprocessorsthat we're going into into technology, you know, people weren't buying backthen, right, because they were saying, well we're not on premise, you know, sowe're not going to buy those things, a lot of those, those, those microchipswent into consumer electronics, people are buying TVs and and headsets andthings like that like crazy, right? For for work from home, you know, adjustingthere, We weren't buying more microchips. So the factories aren'tbuilding, you know, So, you know, that was one is the components pieces ofsupply chain. But the other thing you have with the supply chain is, you know,you look at transportation, right? A lot of, a lot of folks that that drovetrucks that that delivered that product from the from the ports are from therail, you know, into warehouses. Some of them were retired, Right? So do wesee new truck drivers coming into into that segment? You know, I feel likewe're living in in a future NBA case study for for M. B. A. Students as asthey look forward, right? These are things that, you know, I don't knowthat I guess I would say their unprecedented. Right? So, so we're alllearning as we go through that. But yeah, it's it's a mix of both. What canwe produce and make here in north America? And then what can we continueto get from from overseas? You're exactly right. We are living in an N. B.A case study and and this is going to be studied and yeah, it's pretty mindboggling to think about, We've got to be creative, right? I mean, you can'tjust think the same way of doing things. You, I find myself, you know, takingtime and trying to unpack things quite a bit and asking if that then what, youknow, and just really, you know, and you know, we're not traveling as muchas as we have been. I mean, we actually just returned from our sales kickoffwhere we're excited. We're getting ready for for 22 already because weknow it's going to be another different year, right? You know, we've got to,we've got to be prepared. I think the first half is going to be challenging.I think, uh, I think a lot of stuff, we have a lot of stuff coming. So I thinkwe'll be in very good position in Q one and into Q two, but beyond that, whoknows? Right. So we've gotta be ready for it. Well, I'd love to dive intosome of those things that are coming down the pike. But first, let me askyou, I mean, of course, with, with all these challenges do come opportunitiesfor for a pc and corresponding partners. So what are the tail winds then thatare ahead for a pc? And these emerging...

...categories? Yeah. You know, fortunately,I think there's a lot of them, I think there are more tail winds, there areheadwinds than headwinds, you know, I look at things like, you know,government stimulus, right? I mean we're all paying for that, right? Thatthat that that money doesn't come, you know out of the sky, it comes from weas taxpayers, but I think where a lot of that is being positioned, a lot ofit's being positioned in infrastructure, a lot of that's being positioned in inthe grid. Right? And these are all things that that Schneider are very uhfocused on and built for and then you see things like you see some of thatfunding going into education, you know, so so you you look at what a lot of I.T. Directors are doing in schools now they continue to focus on distancelearning, even though kids are back in school, it's more the digitization ofeducation, how do we go, 1121 on on chromebooks and then it's theinfrastructure behind that to go support the increased band with, withwith with with more devices. So, you know, I I look at things like that, Isee things like five G that are coming, so you see four G was was more for, youknow, we as as consumers, but five G is really built for businesses. Right? Soas you see more and more workflows, you know, coming back on premise, you know,a lot of stuff went to the cloud, a lot of stuff will stay in the cloud, butnow we're seeing more come back on prem and I think that that that does helpthe modernization of of data centers and I think it's gonna kind of helpwith the proliferation of of the edge. So yeah, I mean we're we're actuallywe're super excited. I mean it's tough to get, you know, sometimes we all getcaught up in the in the headwinds and and you know, but but if we thinkpositively there's more to look forward to than there is to be frustrated withmy Yeah. Yeah. Well that is encouraging. And and so you mentioned some of thethings that Schneider and APC have in store for 2022. Can you, can you sharesome of those things that I guess you're particularly excited about? Yeah.You know, I would say, I would say continued investment in in K 12, I meanwe continue to invest in resources programs and offers to to go after thatthat market, you know, we've got some new products that are coming outlithium very very, very thin one. You lithium ion ups technology. It's it's,you know, it's something that the market has been asking for moved fromlead acid sealed batteries into lithium ion. So we're excited about that. We'reseeing more around our move to software and software and services, you know, so,so from from an offer standpoint, yeah, we continue to look at what are themarkets that are spending spending in technology and then do we have theright offer the right services and the right coverage to to go support that.So lots of great things happening happening there as well as enhancementsto our partner programs to really make sure that our partners have the tools,the enablement and uh, and they could...

...do it in a profitable way, you know, to,to align with with us as a, as a preferred vendor well, so I understandthat ingram Micro was a very early partner in a pcs growth. So I guesstell us about that ingram and a pc partnership and I guess what's uniqueabout it? Well, you know, it's funny, I mean a pc and ingram have been workingtogether for a long, long time. I actually for, I forget why, but Iactually was looking at the ingram contract a couple of weeks ago and it'sactually printed on the type, that's that's how, that's how old thepartnership is with with ingram Micro, but you know, not just because I'm onan ingram podcast, but ingram, you know, I've been working with ingrampersonally for 13 or 14 years now and and the team is, you know, number onecollaborative, I mean just, we always get together, we talk about differentideas, We look at different ways to go to market. I mean when you look at ourcategory were not always the lead vendor now, somebody's going to buildout a data center. Yeah, that we might be a lead vendor because we're buildingat the power, the electrical infrastructure, all that stuff, but forthe most part, you know, we attached to a lot of the core categories out there.Server networking. Right. As storages is probably three of the biggest ones.So we're always looking at different ways to reinvent ourselves and, and,and most importantly support our partners as they go out and carry theingram abc message to to their customers. So yeah, I would saycollaborative fun. Right? I mean I celebrated my 40th birthday with ingramMicro team. I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was, but youknow, working with ingram, it's it's like working with your friends and andand and being with your family. It's it's, you know, we've done some verycreative things and we continue to so no, great, great partner, great, great,great, great friendship when we look at then the benefit thatthis very collaborative relationship had, you know, with ingram and and a pc,I guess what can you go over some of the specifics of specifics or benefitsfor ingram micro partners? Yeah, you know, so, I mean, there's there's a lotof things that we do today today, but, you know, when I think about some ofthe bigger, you know, differentiated things, you know, we all have to lookat, you know, how do we support our business today? 30 60 90 days out.Right. Because we all we all have numbers we have to hit but you alsohave to look to the future and where we're going you know and I rememberbeing with some of the Ingraham executives you know four or five yearsago you know and we traditionally have been a hardware vendor and we're stilla hardware vendor but we're one of those hardware vendors that are tryingto figure out how do we digitize more? How do we do more with software? So weactually have this this platform called eco structure where really it's it'sour platform to help customers monitor and manage their critical I. T.Infrastructure. And this became more of a license based offer and we're tryingto figure out how do we bring this to...

...market? So the first thing we did is weactually went and talked to ingram Micro about it. I remember sitting atdinner and we looked at it and the reason why we went to ingram Micro wasbecause of your cloud marketplace. I mean best in class, you know nobody'sgot a marketplace like this and in in the distribution channel. So we saidhow do we how do we learn from them? And and we had an offer we we broughtto ingram and not only did they they they want to take part in it but theyactually helped us develop further development for the for the channel. Wewere very constructive about what was what was really strong about it butalso what were some of the weaknesses and and we really listen to that andlaunched launched our eco structure I. T. Expert through and with ingram micro.So so that's one you know the other one that's that's we've been working on foryears is we always want to make sure we get the right content, the right toolsto the right partners. We don't want to go talk to a partner that's focused onyou know say the SMB and then go talk to them with an enterprise messageright? Or we don't we don't want to go we were very excited as we alreadytalked a little bit about about the opportunity in K. 12 and highereducation. If the partner is not focused they're I don't want to go givehim that message right? So we've spent a lot of time with ingram to understandthe demographics of the partners that we work with together to make sure wedeliver the right message. And that may sound simple but we all get that peanutbutter spam email you know from different vendors and you look at itand we spend our mornings you know drinking our coffee and clickingthrough up. I don't want that. I don't want that right and it's so we'retrying to be as target as we can because we do know I. T. Decisionmakers have a lot on their plate as well as the finance people who arecritical and I. T. Decisions. So you know that's number two and I would saythe third one is one that's near and dear to my heart which is this idea ofas a service ups is a service. You know what we're trying to do is really lookat how do we help customers? We know our customers are challenged in termsof how do they fund all the different I. T. Projects that that they have. So wewe came up with this idea of of ups as a service route which really takes thehardware and this monitoring and dispatch off where we have you know toto bring it to market. So our partners can look at it to say hey maybe I canhelp my my customer fund this project from an optics standpoint versus justyou know a traditional Capex right? So we were trying to bring thatflexibility but also the monitoring and management of it. So you know I cantalk more about that. Maybe we will later later point in the in the podcast.But you know these three pieces are I would say current and future offersplatforms and enablement for our...

...partners that you know we've we've codeveloped the initial idea with ingram micro. So you know these are thingsthat I think will help us today but even more importantly especially youknow infrastructure and and as a service as those markets mature will bereally well positioned with ingram to support support those those partners.Excellent. Well you know we probably could and should devote another episodeto to going over some of those programs but as we start to wrap up actually ourour time today we always ask our guests because you know these are these arethe thought leaders, these are the ones that have their their finger on thepulse and they see what's happening in the market. So where do you seetechnology going in the next year? Yeah, that's it's interesting. I I have someopinions, I I don't entirely know but you know, I would say you know I wasactually just presenting some of this at our our sales kickoff, you know, Iwould say to come to mind one would be, it does seem like we're seeing therepatriating of workloads again back from the cloud to on on premise andvice versa, we're seeing workloads that we're still on premise going to thecloud, I think I. T decision makers are trying to figure out you know, what'sthe most efficient and effective way to do that, you know, from our standpoint,what what that does is as you see more workflows comeback on premise, you know,you're seeing that that customers saying oh you know what maybe I need tomodernize and optimize what I had left for on premise data centers, right? Thetwo thousands were all about building out on premise data centers and now wesee you know that the so much that that's hosted you know outside of thecustomer's on premise data center so I really do see that happening and I alsosee as part of that you know a lot of customers that were newer may not evenhave an on premise data center but they want to bring that workflow back youknow in house. So we're seeing the proliferation of edge deployments andand a lot of that is is fueled by what we talked about initially which is youknow the explosion of five G it really is enabling that for for thosecustomers. So I would say that that's one around the on the workflows and theother which we just touched upon is this whole idea of as a service youknow right now as a service is really I would say you know when you look atMicrosoft and office 3 60 then used to 3 65 I should say. And then you look atyou know devices right on our phones or tablets, all that type of stuff. That'sreally what the market is right now. So we started talking to ingram about as aservice. I remember talking to paul Bay, your your president and I said Gordon?Is is this ups as a service real And I said you know paul it's as real as as aservices right now for all of us and you know we kind of kind of chuckle hesaid, you're right. Right. So you know I, I do see if we look 3 to 5 years out.I see as a service really being a...

...bigger part of our go to markettogether just like cloud was four or five years ago. Right. I mean there area lot of customers for five years ago that said no way am I putting theseworkflows out into public cloud. And then some of it came back in as aprivate cloud and now you look at it, everybody from my dentist to my doctorto you know, netflix, everybody has a, you know, has a hybrid cloud approachto their go to market. So you know, as as cloud has evolved, I do believe as aservice is going to evolve and that's why we want to partner with ingrammicro early to develop it. So we're not, you know, we're not scrambling to, toget there would actually be, you know, ahead of the curve even though myfinance team wants to see what we're doing for, for revenue out of thattoday. Right. So yeah, those, those are two big things I would, I would saythat I see is you know where the, where the market is headed for listeners whowant to find out more about what we talked about today. Yeah. So so 22things. One would be so we have, we have a great team of joe Treadwell andMegan pork A that that work directly with ingram micro day today. So youknow, if we could get their contact information out to everybody on thepodcast, I think that would be great. And then you know, you're, you'reingram Micro account manager, right? We've got plenty of on site on siteresources funded by by a pc Schneider at, at ingram so to reach out to themand they'll be able to connect it with the right people or the or the rightresources. Well, I really appreciate all of your time and insight. Gordon?Thank you so much for joining me. Shelby. Thanks for having me. This was,this was great. Really appreciate it and look forward to maybe doing anotherone where we expand on some of those categories. We talked about just one last thing. I'd just like tothank all of our partners for all their support and we know that they've gotlots of choices and you know, thank you for being a valued partner of uh youhave a Pc and ingram Micro and if you're not currently working with us,look forward to earn your business. So thanks again. Well, thank you listenersfor tuning in and subscribing to B2B tech talk with ingram micro. If youliked this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitterwith the hashtag B two B tech talk until next time I'm Shelby scare hawk.You've been listening to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro. This episodewas sponsored by the ingram Micro One Event. B two B Tech Talk is a jointproduction with Sweet Fish Media and ingram Micro. To not miss an episode.Subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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