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

Episode · 4 months 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 talk with ingram Micro the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream, this podcast is sponsored by the ingram Micro one event dream of possibility craft the future and think of the things nobody else has Our customers arrive as individuals but quickly become one. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk. And my guest today is Gordon Lord, senior director of I. T. Distribution and channel strategy for Schneider Electric. Gordon? Welcome Shelby. Thanks for having me really looking forward to it. Excellent. Well, so today we're looking ahead at 2022 and what's in store for the uninterruptible power service market with 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 and seven. So that you know, that was a time when it seemed like nearly all it was definitely brick and mortar. So how has this uninterruptible paddle category really evolved in the last decades and especially in the last two years with the pandemic. Yeah, no, thank you Shelby. And again, thanks to you and ingram Micro for for having me on the on the podcast. Today, you're right, 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 know protecting the hardware, you know, so we had you know, desktop ups is network ups is that we're there to back up you know network switches and servers. And then when you started to look at the early two thousands it was about voice over I. P. And ensuring that the connectivity there build out of on premise data centers. And you know we're at a point now where you know I think customers are really really focused focused on on efficiency sustainability. So we've evolved with Schneider Electric because as you mentioned were required in 2000 and seven. You know Schneider Electric is an is an energy management company that's really focused on on driving that efficiency and honestly in a in a very commendable way really looking at how 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 all about protecting the hardware to protecting the data to now more about the efficiency and what what we can do for our planet. What we can do to be more efficient and make better use of the energy and the resources that we have today definitely. And that's that's interesting the evolution that has been there and it shows that there's a strategy and a look ahead at what's coming and kind of trying to...

...stay on top of that. So looking at this shift I mean you know workplace strategy has changed tremendously. You know we're in this hybrid workforce area era where we may not go back to traditional in the office, everybody in the same building type of workforce. So The 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 PC adjusting 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, as families, as businesses, you know, but we're very resilient, right? And we look at it and we've we've all gotten, you know, I can't believe this has been going on for for two years or so, right, and you know, we have to balance our mental health and then we also have to balance, you know, what do we do to continue 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 the unknown. We we knew, I think most people had a had a pretty big dip in revenue and in Q two, so everybody kind of looked at it and said, wow, we're going to see 2030% growth and and we did, we did really, really well in Q two and nobody knew what the second half was going to look like and you know, I think we saw a lot of pent up demand, I think we saw you know a lot of people adapting as you mentioned. So so the we've seen a lot of strength in 2021 you know and as we go into 2022 you know we're we're we're now in the highest inflationary period we've seen in the last 40 years right? So you look at I. T. Decision makers and even we as consumers are buying power has been diminished you know I don't know that a lot of lot of mighty decision makers are going to get incremental budget you know in 2022 so they have to be creative and flexible and how they how they spend those dollars and you know it's no secret I think a lot of people are getting ready for holiday shopping or hopefully have done a lot of their holiday shopping by now but you know it's taking longer to get goods whether they're you know gifts for your for your family and friends or you know technology where you know some of it's made here locally but some of it's made overseas. So you know those are absolutely two things that that were very focused on and and trying to see what can we do, we've actually brought in a lot more products from overseas and we're actually looking at what can we do from from production here you know in north America so um we're doing everything we can we're on on calls you know even sometimes it's daily, right? But at least weekly to have those conversations to see what are we doing to be different. And again, how do we continue 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 imported them and so now you're looking to create them here in the US or are you just clarify that a little bit? Yeah, a...

...little bit of both. You know, if you look at Schneider, we have, we have factories here in the in the US and then we also have, you know, like, like most technology vendors, we have we have product that's made overseas. So we're trying to have, I guess more of a hybrid approach, Right? I mean it's kind of like cloud, you know, you got public cloud, you got private cloud, then you've got, you know, a mix of both. So I think we're kind of looking at things the same way, how do we how do we continue to produce the way we are? But then look at things differently because you've got two things, when you look at supply chain supply chain, you've got you've got a component shortage, right. I mean, I think, you know, when you look back, you know, a lot of the microprocessors that we're going into into technology, you know, people weren't buying back then, right, because they were saying, well we're not on premise, you know, so we're not going to buy those things, a lot of those, those, those microchips went into consumer electronics, people are buying TVs and and headsets and things like that like crazy, right? For for work from home, you know, adjusting there, We weren't buying more microchips. So the factories aren't building, you know, So, you know, that was one is the components pieces of supply 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 drove trucks that that delivered that product from the from the ports are from the rail, you know, into warehouses. Some of them were retired, Right? So do we see new truck drivers coming into into that segment? You know, I feel like we're living in in a future NBA case study for for M. B. A. Students as as they look forward, right? These are things that, you know, I don't know that I guess I would say their unprecedented. Right? So, so we're all learning as we go through that. But yeah, it's it's a mix of both. What can we produce and make here in north America? And then what can we continue to 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 mind boggling to think about, We've got to be creative, right? I mean, you can't just think the same way of doing things. You, I find myself, you know, taking time and trying to unpack things quite a bit and asking if that then what, you know, and just really, you know, and you know, we're not traveling as much as as we have been. I mean, we actually just returned from our sales kickoff where we're excited. We're getting ready for for 22 already because we know 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 think we'll be in very good position in Q one and into Q two, but beyond that, who knows? Right. So we've gotta be ready for it. Well, I'd love to dive into some of those things that are coming down the pike. But first, let me ask you, I mean, of course, with, with all these challenges do come opportunities for for a pc and corresponding partners. So what are the tail winds then that are 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 are headwinds than headwinds, you know, I look at things like, you know, government stimulus, right? I mean we're all paying for that, right? That that that that money doesn't come, you know out of the sky, it comes from we as taxpayers, but I think where a lot of that is being positioned, a lot of it's being positioned in infrastructure, a lot of that's being positioned in in the grid. Right? And these are all things that that Schneider are very uh focused on and built for and then you see things like you see some of that funding 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 distance learning, even though kids are back in school, it's more the digitization of education, how do we go, 1121 on on chromebooks and then it's the infrastructure behind that to go support the increased band with, with with with with more devices. So, you know, I I look at things like that, I see things like five G that are coming, so you see four G was was more for, you know, we as as consumers, but five G is really built for businesses. Right? So as 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, but now we're seeing more come back on prem and I think that that that does help the modernization of of data centers and I think it's gonna kind of help with the proliferation of of the edge. So yeah, I mean we're we're actually we're super excited. I mean it's tough to get, you know, sometimes we all get caught up in the in the headwinds and and you know, but but if we think positively there's more to look forward to than there is to be frustrated with my Yeah. Yeah. Well that is encouraging. And and so you mentioned some of the things that Schneider and APC have in store for 2022. Can you, can you share some 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 mean we continue to invest in resources programs and offers to to go after that that market, you know, we've got some new products that are coming out lithium 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 from lead acid sealed batteries into lithium ion. So we're excited about that. We're seeing 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 the markets that are spending spending in technology and then do we have the right offer the right services and the right coverage to to go support that. So lots of great things happening happening there as well as enhancements to 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 understand that ingram Micro was a very early partner in a pcs growth. So I guess tell us about that ingram and a pc partnership and I guess what's unique about it? Well, you know, it's funny, I mean a pc and ingram have been working together for a long, long time. I actually for, I forget why, but I actually was looking at the ingram contract a couple of weeks ago and it's actually printed on the type, that's that's how, that's how old the partnership is with with ingram Micro, but you know, not just because I'm on an ingram podcast, but ingram, you know, I've been working with ingram personally for 13 or 14 years now and and the team is, you know, number one collaborative, I mean just, we always get together, we talk about different ideas, We look at different ways to go to market. I mean when you look at our category were not always the lead vendor now, somebody's going to build out a data center. Yeah, that we might be a lead vendor because we're building at the power, the electrical infrastructure, all that stuff, but for the 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 the ingram abc message to to their customers. So yeah, I would say collaborative fun. Right? I mean I celebrated my 40th birthday with ingram Micro team. I'm not going to tell you how many years ago that was, but you know, working with ingram, it's it's like working with your friends and and and and being with your family. It's it's, you know, we've done some very creative things and we continue to so no, great, great partner, great, great, great, great friendship when we look at then the benefit that this 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 benefits for ingram micro partners? Yeah, you know, so, I mean, there's there's a lot of things that we do today today, but, you know, when I think about some of the bigger, you know, differentiated things, you know, we all have to look at, 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 also have to look to the future and where we're going you know and I remember being with some of the Ingraham executives you know four or five years ago you know and we traditionally have been a hardware vendor and we're still a hardware vendor but we're one of those hardware vendors that are trying to figure out how do we digitize more? How do we do more with software? So we actually have this this platform called eco structure where really it's it's our platform to help customers monitor and manage their critical I. T. Infrastructure. And this became more of a license based offer and we're trying to figure out how do we bring this to...

...market? So the first thing we did is we actually went and talked to ingram Micro about it. I remember sitting at dinner and we looked at it and the reason why we went to ingram Micro was because of your cloud marketplace. I mean best in class, you know nobody's got a marketplace like this and in in the distribution channel. So we said how do we how do we learn from them? And and we had an offer we we brought to ingram and not only did they they they want to take part in it but they actually helped us develop further development for the for the channel. We were very constructive about what was what was really strong about it but also what were some of the weaknesses and and we really listen to that and launched 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 for years is we always want to make sure we get the right content, the right tools to the right partners. We don't want to go talk to a partner that's focused on you know say the SMB and then go talk to them with an enterprise message right? Or we don't we don't want to go we were very excited as we already talked a little bit about about the opportunity in K. 12 and higher education. If the partner is not focused they're I don't want to go give him that message right? So we've spent a lot of time with ingram to understand the demographics of the partners that we work with together to make sure we deliver the right message. And that may sound simple but we all get that peanut butter spam email you know from different vendors and you look at it and we spend our mornings you know drinking our coffee and clicking through up. I don't want that. I don't want that right and it's so we're trying to be as target as we can because we do know I. T. Decision makers have a lot on their plate as well as the finance people who are critical and I. T. Decisions. So you know that's number two and I would say the third one is one that's near and dear to my heart which is this idea of as a service ups is a service. You know what we're trying to do is really look at how do we help customers? We know our customers are challenged in terms of how do they fund all the different I. T. Projects that that they have. So we we came up with this idea of of ups as a service route which really takes the hardware and this monitoring and dispatch off where we have you know to to bring it to market. So our partners can look at it to say hey maybe I can help my my customer fund this project from an optics standpoint versus just you know a traditional Capex right? So we were trying to bring that flexibility but also the monitoring and management of it. So you know I can talk 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 offers platforms and enablement for our...

...partners that you know we've we've co developed the initial idea with ingram micro. So you know these are things that I think will help us today but even more importantly especially you know infrastructure and and as a service as those markets mature will be really well positioned with ingram to support support those those partners. Excellent. Well you know we probably could and should devote another episode to to going over some of those programs but as we start to wrap up actually our our time today we always ask our guests because you know these are these are the thought leaders, these are the ones that have their their finger on the pulse and they see what's happening in the market. So where do you see technology going in the next year? Yeah, that's it's interesting. I I have some opinions, I I don't entirely know but you know, I would say you know I was actually just presenting some of this at our our sales kickoff, you know, I would say to come to mind one would be, it does seem like we're seeing the repatriating of workloads again back from the cloud to on on premise and vice versa, we're seeing workloads that we're still on premise going to the cloud, I think I. T decision makers are trying to figure out you know, what's the 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 to modernize and optimize what I had left for on premise data centers, right? The two thousands were all about building out on premise data centers and now we see you know that the so much that that's hosted you know outside of the customer's on premise data center so I really do see that happening and I also see as part of that you know a lot of customers that were newer may not even have an on premise data center but they want to bring that workflow back you know in house. So we're seeing the proliferation of edge deployments and and a lot of that is is fueled by what we talked about initially which is you know the explosion of five G it really is enabling that for for those customers. So I would say that that's one around the on the workflows and the other which we just touched upon is this whole idea of as a service you know right now as a service is really I would say you know when you look at Microsoft and office 3 60 then used to 3 65 I should say. And then you look at you know devices right on our phones or tablets, all that type of stuff. That's really what the market is right now. So we started talking to ingram about as a service. 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 a services right now for all of us and you know we kind of kind of chuckle he said, 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 market together just like cloud was four or five years ago. Right. I mean there are a lot of customers for five years ago that said no way am I putting these workflows out into public cloud. And then some of it came back in as a private cloud and now you look at it, everybody from my dentist to my doctor to you know, netflix, everybody has a, you know, has a hybrid cloud approach to their go to market. So you know, as as cloud has evolved, I do believe as a service is going to evolve and that's why we want to partner with ingram micro early to develop it. So we're not, you know, we're not scrambling to, to get there would actually be, you know, ahead of the curve even though my finance team wants to see what we're doing for, for revenue out of that today. Right. So yeah, those, those are two big things I would, I would say that I see is you know where the, where the market is headed for listeners who want to find out more about what we talked about today. Yeah. So so 22 things. One would be so we have, we have a great team of joe Treadwell and Megan pork A that that work directly with ingram micro day today. So you know, if we could get their contact information out to everybody on the podcast, I think that would be great. And then you know, you're, you're ingram Micro account manager, right? We've got plenty of on site on site resources funded by by a pc Schneider at, at ingram so to reach out to them and they'll be able to connect it with the right people or the or the right resources. 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 another one where we expand on some of those categories. We talked about just one last thing. I'd just like to thank all of our partners for all their support and we know that they've got lots of choices and you know, thank you for being a valued partner of uh you have 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 listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B2B 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 hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with ingram Micro. This episode was sponsored by the ingram Micro One Event. B two B Tech Talk is a joint production with Sweet Fish Media and ingram Micro. To not miss an episode. Subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform.

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