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Ingram Micro Launches xSP Program

Computer distribution giant Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) this week dipped its toe into the ASP pool with an eight-month pilot program to deliver pre-packaged xSP services through its network of resellers.

In November 2000, Ingram Micro announced a strategy and partners for its ASP initiative. Since then, the initiative has expanded to become an xSP offering, going beyond applications to include hosting and managed services.

The U.S. Service Provider Exchange pilot is open to Ingram Micro value-added resellers (VARs) and solution providers that want to become outsourced service providers, maintain a direct selling relationship with end-users that outsource services or reach service providers for business development and strategic alliances.

The first two xSPs in the pilot are Exenet and NetLedger. Exenet is an Application Infrastructure Provider (AIP) offering managed services, storage services, bandwidth provisioning, directory services, database services and its complete ASP EcoSystem services. NetLedger is offering its NetLedger 1 System service encompassing accounting, payroll, online bill pay, CRM, Web store/Web site, time and billing and employee expense report capabilities.

Bringing Ingram's shrink-wrapped success to the ASP model is no easy task, Jodi Maxson, NetLedger's VP business development, told InternetNews. "It's one thing to put a box on the shelf – people can see it, it's easy," Maxson said. "With an ASP, it's a different model, for Ingram and their VARs. It's a case where the devil is in the details."

Ironing out the details could have a significant impact on the industry overall and NetLedger in particular, Maxson said. "It's a one-to-many-to-many model. It spreads that much faster."

The criteria for partners participating in the Service Provider Exchange include availability of two-tier pricing, knowledge of the IT channel and VAR market and a solid financial position.

"Ingram Micro is creating a business development opportunity not currently in existence for the IT channel by bringing xSP solutions to our customers at the lowest cost of entry to reach the SMB market," said Pam Bryson, VP business development, Ingram Micro U.S.

As part of the program, customers will receive support from a dedicated Ingram Micro sales team trained on xSP services, specialized technical representatives available on-call, service provider marketing programs and promotions, as well as training and customer service support without the added expense or investment in high-end infrastructure costs. The new Ingram Micro Solutions Center, where customers can test and develop new xSP solutions, also will support the pilot program upon its opening this summer.