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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

November 21, 2011 |

Tech Data Scores Points on Partner Benefits

One of Tech Data’s top partners talks about the recession, vendor partnerships, and the cloud, and gives the distributor a rave review for its enablement programs.

A Tech Data partner discusses the recession, vendor partnerships, the cloud, and the kudos it gives the distributor for its enablement programs.

Tech Data Corp.’s TechSelect conference, which brings together the distributor’s top reseller partners for business and technology discussions, took place in Orlando earlier this month. ChannelPro-SMB sat down with Marty Andrefski, president of integraONE, a Tech Data partner, to find out how the unified communications and networking provider is weathering the recession, what the biggest challenge is in vendor relationships, and how cloud computing is still too much of an uncertainty for many VARs. Andrefski also details how his relationship with Tech Data has benefited his company with enablement programs and training.

ChannelPro-SMB: How has integraONE kept itself profitable in uncertain times?

Andrefski: Our position has always been taking an aggressive posture from a hiring perspective, working very closely with vendors to create good strong partnerships, and taking that momentum to our customers.† One of the more prevalent things that we’ve seen over the past year or two is customers looking for choices.† Historically they may have had a specific product set, but we want to show how they can save some dollars by looking at another product line.† So while 2012 is going to be challenging, we’ve been able to show growth over the last four or five years and we don’t see a reason why that’s going to stop.

ChannelPro-SMB: You specialize in unified communications and secure wireless data storage, with your own data center. Have you made the move to cloud computing services?

Andrefski: We aren’t selling cloud services yet; we’re still in the cautious investigative stage.† Some people might think we’re behind the ball on it, and some people may think we’re right in line with the majority of resellers. †There’s a lot of wait and see out there.† Our customers don’t seem to be adopting the cloud mentality or movement yet.

ChannelPro-SMB: What are your reservations with cloud computing?

Andrefski: I think there are big questions.† Every time you hear about an outage, it gives the market pause.† It gives us pause too, because we would be the ones offering [cloud services]—it’s our reputation on the line. We want to make sure we feel good about it and can support it.† I have some feelers out with vendors right now.† One of our strong vendor partners rolled out a cloud partner program but we want to know, what is it?† Tell us, what does it really mean?

ChannelPro-SMB: As a smaller firm, do you have challenges with vendor relationships?

Andrefski: One of the challenges we see with vendors is the constant shifting of certification requirements, especially for smaller to midsize partners. That is an always changing goal line and as the venders push more requirements down, it begins to force partners of our size and smaller to make some hard choices.

It makes you wonder, what can we realistically do with the vendor from a certification perspective?† And while you want to sell the whole product line, the reality is that in some cases you might not be able to do that.† So then it impacts relationships when you’re with those vendors.

We are a 54-employee firm with a fairly sizeable engineering staff, and we can cover a lot. I can’t imagine what you would do if you’re a 20-employee VAR with half the engineers that we have.† It must be very challenging to be certified across multiple vendors, and be able to go out and offer choices to the customer.

ChannelPro-SMB: What additional help do you get from distribution?

Andrefski: From my relationship with Tech Data and through TechSelect, there are always opportunities, training boot camps, on-site training that they offer, whether it be through TechSelect University or other periodic training. That’s certainly one of the values that we see in the program. We’re training all the time and we will send people to Cisco or HP boot camps, but our training is often augmented through offerings that we find through Tech Data.

ChannelPro-SMB: How does being part of the Tech Data advisory council help?

Andrefski: When we decided to become a focused company years ago, part of that was that we really wanted to commit to some vendors on the manufacturers side and the distribution side.† When we work with Tech Data—and they [represent] the lion’s share of our purchases—it’s a two-way relationship.† They provide us with a lot of value-added services such as training programs or conferences [like TechSelect] or marketing.†

We look at [what Tech Data offers us] and it’s a complete package.† We approach it the same way that we ask our customers to approach our services.† We’re not transactional.† If you want to be a transactional client, we’re probably not going to be the best match for you.† And that’s the way we approach it when we work with Tech Data or HP. And again, that’s why we have a pretty narrow product set.

ChannelPro-SMB: Other than using Tech Data’s training and marketing services, how has your relationship with Tech Data enabled your business?

Andrefski: Tech Data’s solution center is one example. We’re paying to send two engineers down to spend two days training on storage and virtualization. I brought my entire sales team last summer so they would understand the capacity of it. We’ve brought customers down who were comparing two major manufacturers and making a fairly large investment.† We brought them down to spend a day and a half in the solutions center and it worked out great.

We’ve had a great relationship with Tech Data/TechSelect since 2003.† And I think one of the great things about Tech Data is the accessibility to [vendor company executives] that many partners may not have access to.† And from there, you can really take the information and apply it to your business so you can grow it.


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