Cisco Hands-On Hit Opens At Ingram Micro

Holly Garcia vidshot

It doesn't take a tech geek to be impressed with the new Cisco Experience Center that opened to Ingram Micro partners on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Located in the distributor's Buffalo office, alongside the existing Solutions Center that features nearly every piece of technology offered by Ingram Micro, the Experience Center is comprised of nearly $2 million in cutting-edge Cisco technology solutions. The new 1,000-square-foot facility offers a first look at many of Cisco's most popular technology solutions including Cisco TelePresence and the complete portfolio of Cisco Data Center, Borderless Network and Collaboration solutions. The center doubles as a training lab and hands-on education classroom for channel partners who sell Cisco solutions, and is geared for everyone from business owners to sales teams to engineering staffs.

Take a tour of the new center with Holly Garcia, Sr. Director Vendor Management at Ingram Micro.

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During the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Experience Center, 40 Ingram Micro partners heard insight from several VIPs, including Mario Leone, EVP and CIO, Ingram Micro; Paul Bay, EVP, Ingram Micro North America; Peter Gambino, VP, Cisco Business Unit, Ingram Micro U.S.; Julie Hens, VP, North American distribution, Cisco; Matt Jonson, director, systems engineering, Cisco; and Marc Sherman, VP of marketing, APC.

Leone talked to the gathered group about his excitement around the fast-paced innovation occurring in the technology channel right now. "Inflection points usually coincide with recessions, because in those darkest moments, the more creative minds think through solutions and innovation is the end result," says Leone, who adds that he expects three outcomes for the last recession: convergence, change in delivery, and collaboration.

Wondering how VARs need to prepare for this? Leone says you need to look no farther than your own home. "You are hit with all sorts of devices at home, devices you like and that work well for you," explains Leone. "The challenge is making them work together. That complexity is the opportunity for the channel." He says the new year will bring about a rebirth of the term "systems integrator," but with a slight twist. The systems will not stop in the network, but extend far into the business and consumer world. Systems integrators in 2011 will not only help customers find devices that work for them, they will integrate and manage those devices to drive the best value for their customers.

Listen to Mario Leone, SVP and CIO of Ingram Micro, talk about using technology such as virtualization to save your customers money that can then be invested in technology innovations needed in that business.

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All in all, Leone expects 2011 to bring solutions that delivery better capabilities, more flexibility, stability, and security while also lowering costs and time for deployment. To help VAR partners prepare and enjoy the success found in today's innovative technology, Ingram Micro is developing centers such as the Cisco Experience Center to show its partners how new technology can be leveraged — well beyond the "cool" factor — and teach them to talk to their customers about business value vs. technology tricks. "We are pushing them to expand their core competency, this is where we come in a solutions aggregator," explains Paul Bay, EVP, Ingram Micro North America. He says Ingram is working to provide a better experience for partners, and their customers, by matching advanced computing and advanced technology into solutions supported by multiple vendors. "We want to be the one stop for all solutions, plus fuel your success through education, enablement, training, access to more vendor solutions, and a path toward more profitable growth."

Cisco VP of North American distribution, Julie Hens, explained that the center features many options in order to serve partners from executives to engineers. "We want to drive productivity by offering interest to the entire team in one place. Our goal is to highlight vertical adoptions, higher attach rates, and collaboration, to make this a resource tool." The center has two rooms. In one, visitors are greeted by a video wall of touch screen technology that highlights vertical markets and the problem resolutions VARs can offer to that vertical (i.e. healthcare, education, manufacturing, and more). Then, in the same room, there are demo stations for Cisco's Borderless Network solutions, home office technology, mobile technology, virtualization, power and cooling, and a touch screen wall display.

Want to learn more about Cisco Borderless Networks? Join us for a webinar on the opportunity you are missing if you are selling switches, but not layering on wireless.

Next door to the Borderless Networks demo room is the TelePresence center, which makes meetings across thousands of miles seem face-to-face. That center will be connected to the Ingram Micro office in Santa Ana, as well as all Cisco TelePresence centers, and any other business with TelePresence capabilities.

Listen in as a Cisco representative explains the TelePresence room within the Experience Center to a handful of Ingram Micro partners on the opening day tour.

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Any partners that can't make the trip to Buffalo can utilize a partner portal into the center, which includes training and collateral from the center on-demand. For more information about Ingram Micro's Experience Center visit