The reinvention of Tech Data Corp. as a product plus services business that officially commenced in February of last year when the company closed its $2.6 billion acquisition of Avnet Technology Solutions, is now 15 months old. ChannelPro caught up on that ongoing process last week at the spring 2018 meeting of the distributor’s TechSelect member community. Here’s a look at the profound changes both underway and coming soon for Clearwater, Fla.-based Tech Data and its reseller partners.
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Ingram Micro Inc. has staked its future on the cloud. SYNNEX Corp. has bet its business on a carefully crafted list of high-potential solutions. Tech Data’s strategy is all about combining the packaged endpoint hardware and software products that broadline distributors are known for with services-rich solutions in “next-generation” markets like analytics, cybersecurity, mobility, and the Internet of Things.
“You have to play in both areas to be successful,” says Marty Bauerlein, Tech Data’s senior vice president for North America sales. That’s as true for channel pros as it is for distributors, he continues, which is why partner enablement and training in next-generation technologies have become major investment areas for the company.
“It is an end-to-end sale now,” Bauerlein states. “We need to help [partners] sell full solutions.” The company has been staffing up to support that goal too, he adds.
“We have 80 dedicated folks who are focused on next-gen technologies and verticals,” Bauerlein says. “It’s not a part-time job. It’s a full-time job for these guys.”
It also reflects a strategic decision on Tech Data’s part to resist the powerful temptation after a costly acquisition to save money by reducing headcount.
“When the two companies came together, we didn’t look at cost-cutting from a customer-facing standpoint,” Bauerlein notes. “We said ‘we’re going to have the most robust coverage model in the industry.’”
Particularly in the SMB market, he continues. In the last six months alone, Tech Data has increased its SMB-focused North American sales and marketing headcount by 30 percent.
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