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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
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May 8, 2017 |

Tech Data Grades Itself “A” on Avnet Technology Solutions Integration

Combining the distributor’s old and new assets is benefitting partners in tangible ways already, Americas president Joe Quaglia (pictured) says, including an expanded, consolidated line card and access to managed security offerings.

Early efforts by Tech Data Corp. to fold the former Avnet Technology Solutions into its existing business units are making strong headway, according to senior leaders of the Clearwater, Fla.-based broadline distributor at last week’s TechSelect partner community meeting, in Savannah, Ga.

Tech Data announced its intention to purchase Avnet Technology Solutions from Phoenix-based Avnet Inc. last September, and completed the $2.6 billion acquisition late in February. It’s been working at a feverish clip ever since to integrate the business unit now known simply as Technology Solutions with the rest of its operations, according to Joseph Quaglia, Tech Data’s president for the Americas.

“As of right now, things are moving along really, really well,” he says, adding that he gives the company an “A” grade for the progress it’s made in just over 2 months. Critical stakeholders do as well, he continues.

“I’m getting that grade from the vendor community and I’m getting that grade from the partner community,” Quaglia says.

Partial credit for those high marks, Quaglia believes, belongs to the emphasis Tech Data placed on making the transition process from 2 companies to 1 as painless as possible for everyone potentially affected by it in areas spanning from credit lines to electronic ordering tools.

“One of the pillars of our integration right out of the gates was no disruption,” he says, stating that partners appreciate the new resources now available to them as well.

“Already we’re seeing that Tech Data partners are getting access to and being able to sell solutions that were on the Technology Solutions line card that didn’t exist on the traditional Tech Data line card,” Quaglia says.

Tech Data’s line card is proving popular with former ATS resellers as well, adds senior vice president for North American commercial and retail solutions Marty Bauerlein, as it enables them to source products they bought from multiple suppliers in the past in one place.

“They want to consolidate their spend. It’s too daunting to be doing business with 4 or 5 distributors anymore,” Bauerlein says. “Right now, if you look at what we have to offer, we go end to end.”

Line cards aren’t the only part of Tech Data that the ATS acquisition has expanded either.

“We doubled our sales organization, we doubled the number of consultants that we have in the technical organization, and we tripled the number of technical [system engineers] that we have in the organization,” Quaglia says. “On top of that we’ve more than doubled our customer service organization.”

Significantly, he continues, many of those people have experience Tech Data lacked before selling, designing, implementing, and supporting end user solutions. Capitalizing on that expertise by integrating ATS’s specialist business units (SBUs) with Tech Data’s own in areas like cloud computing, mobility, and big data analytics is one of the distributor’s key priorities at present.

Indeed, the company has successfully merged its old and new security SBUs already, notes ATS veteran Alex Ryals, who heads that freshly combined unit and remains so new to Tech Data that his business card still bears the Avnet logo. Tech Data resellers looking to expand their share of wallet with customers and earn higher margins than they can make selling hardware and software alone now have access to both paid and free security assessment services not available to them previously, Ryals says, including specialized offerings for retail and healthcare clients.

They can also add ATS’s Recon managed security offering to product sales now. Introduced last November, Recon is a 24×7 monitoring and management service backed by a virtual security operations center that’s in turn staffed partly by graduates of the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range, a non-profit instructional center in Meza, Ariz., that teaches both offensive and defensive cyber-attack skills. Tech Data can dispatch technicians from Cisco Systems Inc, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., and Fortinet Inc to remediate any intrusions the system detects.

“We definitely designed it with the SMB in mind,” Ryals says of Recon. “The partner makes margin on the product, but they can now add Recon as a complementary sale.” And since it’s a subscription service, he continues, the high-margin earnings Recon generates are recurring.

Tech Data plans to add more services like Recon over the course of this year, particularly in the ransomware protection, forensics, and next-generation security segments. Some of those offerings will be third-party products, but others will be both developed and delivered by Tech Data itself. According to Ryals, creating products internally reduces middleman costs that weaken partner profits.

“When we can, we try to build it ourselves so that the partner can make a better margin,” he says.

Quaglia, for his part, points to cloud computing as another area in which synergies between Tech Data and Technology Solutions will benefit resellers over the year ahead. While Tech Data’s cloud solution store is rich in Software-as-a-Service solutions, he states, ATS brought strength in Infrastructure-as-a-Service to the company.

“The combination of the 2, with very little overlap in customers and vendors gives, us the ability to really expand and leverage the power of the assets that both bring to the market,” Quaglia says.

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