Where is Ingram Micro (NYSE: IM) heading next in cloud computing, managed services and the IT channel? The answers will emerge within minutes at the Ingram Micro VTN conference at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. The VAR Guy is seated in the front row for keynotes, which start shortly. Keep checking back. This live blog will contain minute-by-minute updates throughout the morning.

First, some background: VTN, short for VentureTech Netowrk, is a community of VARs and MSPs that works closely with Ingram Micro. Several hundred VTN members are here at the conference.

Starting points

Kicking things off: John Fago, senior director of channel marketing, North America. He mentioned...

  • Great Developments: Like Mastermind, Governance, White Globe, Social Media, VTN Webpage, Try before you Buy. Side note: The Mastermind effort has generated a lot of buzz but The VAR Guy needs more info -- what's the upside for partners? Answers soon. Updated: Scott Scrogin from HTG just told The VAR Guy that Mastermind is a peer group for Ingram partners. HTG facilitates Mastermind peer meetings.
  • Continued Progress: like Member Profile Pages, Event App, SIG, Vendor Tracks, and more."
  • Today's Theme: Partner, prosper and repeat.
  • Tribes: "All great organizations have a story. All great groups are tribes that pass those stories on. We have 30 new companies and seven guest companies here. It's important to share our [stories of success] with new members."
  • 15-Years: VTN will celebrate 15 years of success next year.

Next Up: Panel of Experts including...

Insights about the past and present of VTN.

  • Steve Harper, president/CEO at Network Management Group, Inc. (NMGI), described the community's early years and how VTN, formerly called IT, was acquired by Ingram Micro in 1997.
  • Ted Warner, president of Connecting Point in Greeley, Colo., and owner of Point Capital Leasing, said: "Life in business, at least to me, is all about relationship. When I got here this week and saw a crowd of hundreds of people that are business friends and lifelong friends I get kind of choked up. It's all about relationship. Second, the whole partnering thing. None of us know everything. But together we know an awful front. I've partners and learned from just about everyone I can see up front in the crowd here.
  • Jane Cage, COO of Heartland Technology Solutions, described how she negotiated her first M&A on a napkin, quietly, during an Ingram meeting. Talk about simpler times in the IT channel, eh? Another anecdote from Cage later in the session: "I admit to being a thief; I've stolen so many ideas and we give freely to [VTN] members."
  • "Investment precedes dividends," said Harper, reminding attendees to share their time and intellectual capital with other members.
  • Larry Poirier, CEO of Nitro, described TUC recently acquired Nitro. Piorier said such a deal would not have happened without ongoing networking through VTN.
  • Side note: The VAR Guy apologizes for missing some of the panel member names, titles. Time is short in the live-blog world.

Time for a session break. Back soon to expand this Live Blog.

Ingram Updates From the Executive Team

Paul Bay, executive VP, North America, just took the stage...

  • North America 3% revenue growth year on year
  • "The net of it is there's still opportunities and pockets of it."
  • Yes, Ingram has new CEO but the strategy will not change.
  • Side note: Bay is speaking with no slides, no PowerPoint, no teleprompter, no notes. He's on message and rattling off Ingram stats, Ingram executive team focus, and even his family. Why can't more executives be this personable while on stage and trying to connect with attendees?
  • More investments coming in managed print, professional AV (Audio/Video) and people, process and systems.

Kirk Robinson, Ingram Micro's VP of commercial markets (SMB, etc.) North America is now on stage with Bay.

  • Robinson is a NY Jets fan; sounds like a smart guy. (The VAR Guy is from NY...).
  • Robinson's first job was at Bagel Nosh on Long Island. Bagels? New York Jets? Sounds like The VAR Guy needs to do some tailgating with Robinson.
  • Ingram has hired a former doctor to help the company focus on the health care market. Robinson mentioned numerous additional hires in the health care market. The health care focus includes four legs (1) partner enablement, (2) market development, (3) oops, missed this one (4) solution delivery.

Next Up: Scott Zahl, vice president and general manager, Advanced Computing Division.

  • Big Data opportunities... "Really what we're structuring is the way to make the volumes of data useful to the organizations collecting it."
  • Also mentioned key

Peter Gambino, Ingram Micro's vice president, Advanced Technology Group (Cisco business unit).

  • "We can be very surgical to identify the right partners that the vendors are looking for" due to Ingram's organization.
  • "We're seeing more and more opportunities from the end-user community. They are putting a lot of money into Ingram Micro. They are funding 30 to 40 of the [people] we're going to add.

Mark Snider, GM, Canada, Ingram Micro, mentioned multiple business investments in the Canadian market. Sorry The VAR Guy is short on details while he hits page refresh ;-.

Sandy May, VP partner shared services and Jenniver Anaya, VP of marketing, received special mentions for their ongoing efforts.

Renee Bergeron, VP of managed services and cloud services, Ingram...

  • Joined Ingram Micro 18 months ago
  • Bergeron shared some big stats... including this one: Top VARs and MSPs now typically have 1,000 customers seats in the cloud. Here's the recap on Talkin' Cloud.

That's it for now.