The Virtual Lab by Ingram Micro

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Work environments now a days are more dynamic than ever before, which makes it hard for those who are still using the traditional tools. Cloud environments are increasingly popular as it offers great flexibility and streamlines processes to makes things happen more quickly.

Ingram Micro has developed a Virtual Lab to overcome the challenges of traditional approaches, by moving it to the cloud to create a comprehensive and efficient virtual environment.

The Challenge with the traditional approaches:

1. Proof of Concept (POC):

A core function of Ingram Micro engineers is to deliver POCs to customers. However, there are many steps involved with a POC delivery. Firstly, the engineer prepares a hardware appliance of the solution offered to the customer. Once prepared, the hardware unit is  shipped to customer site and installed in their data center.

For this to be successful, a customer is required to provide a rack space, along with cabling, a number of free IP Addresses and many more prerequisites so the engineer can start to implement the POC. Sometimes it can take over two months to deliver a POC which may or may not be successful due to these challenges.

Furthermore, many customers do not find it safe to run a POC on the production environment due to the risk involved if it causes a real problem and interrupts business as usual.

2. Solution Demo:

A solution demo is one of the most essential tools that should always be available to technical and even sales people. However, the challenge is that they must have a laptop with a very high hardware specifications to a run a demo smoothly.

Sales and pre-sales engineers can sometimes find themselves in an awkward situation once they arrive at the customers office and set up the solution demo  for it to then run very slowly.  This is frustrating for the customer and engineer, as it can negatively impact their experience and opinion of the product.

As a result, the company invests more money to purchase new, higher specification laptops which is very expensive. However, the ROI is still not guaranteed as all products vary and one product may require more hardware specifications than even the new laptop has.

3. Hands-on Experiences:

For many engineers, first-hand experience of a product is on of the most difficult challenges in the market. For example,  a company hires a new technical or sales person to help enhance sales numbers. For this to happen,  the new hire  is required to become an expert on the solutions and to do so, they need access on daily basis. In order to achieve this as distributor, we would need to purchase a demo unit from all of our vendors to fully enable our engineers for them to gain valuable,  hands-on experience.

Why Ingram Micro Virtual Lab?

Firstly, our Virtual Lab is cloud-based and available 24/7. It can be used to improve the delivery of a POC to make it easier for both, our valuable customers and our engineers .

Once an engineer receives a POC requirement they can setup, deploy and test everything before visiting the customer to fully ensure all functionality. Imagine how this streamlined process can positively impact the customers’ entire experience. Successful business should be based on trust, and to gain trust you must earn it by delivering what is expected or even more! When engineers use the Virtual Lab to deliver POCs they no longer need to carry a unit device to the customer site, rack space or several free IP Addresses,  and no need to visit the customer every day for a month which helps the customer continue with less interruption to their business from the engineer and frees up the engineer to focus on organizing more POCs.

After all POC setup is complete, a username and password will be created for our valuable customer to test the solution for a specific period on our Virtual Lab.

Secondly, solution demos, as mentioned earlier are one of the most essential tools in our business, a sales or pre-sales person does not have to worry if their laptop will be ready or capable to run the virtual machine to show the demo. They no longer need to waste half an hour trying to start the demo,  this is when customers really lose interest quickly and once the demo is ready they usually request to re-schedule.

Last but not least, hands-on experience, a confident engineer is able to convince anyone about any solution regardless of the competition! On the other hand, an engineer with a lack of experience will cost the company losing many leads. Hands-on experience is so hard to achieve if the company unable to provide access to the solutions to their engineers on daily bases.

The Virtual Lab will help our engineers to practice and work on use cases to build their knowledge and have a strong self confidence in their delivery of a POC.

Ingram Micro Virtual Lab is the answer.

Article Written by Mamdouh Mostafa– Sr. Cyber Security Solutions Architect

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