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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.

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News & Articles

March 30, 2022 |

For TD SYNNEX, Life After Merger is All in the Family

Seven months after becoming one company, Tech Data and SYNNEX are combining org charts, standardizing on a single ERP system, and moving past the awkwardness of being colleagues instead of rivals, according to execs Bob Stegner and Peter Larocque (pictured).

Seven months after Tech Data and SYNNEX officially merged to form TD SYNNEX, employees of the once fierce competitors have moved past the awkwardness of suddenly being colleagues instead. But it didn’t happen overnight.

“In the beginning, it’s just like anything,” said Bob Stegner, the distribution giant’s senior vice president of marketing for North America, in a conversation with ChannelPro at the spring 2022 meeting of the company’s Varnex partner community. “When you’re bringing two families together, it’s getting to know each other, and once you get to know each other then it becomes more natural.”

Peter Larocque, TD SYNNEX’s North America president, echoed that sentiment during a speaking appearance at the show, which wrapped up yesterday. 

“The teams have been working well together,” he said.

That’s good, because by its own admission the company still has a lot of work to do. That includes merging two still separate SMB sales groups with different organizational structures and compensation plans, among other things, into one.

“We’re just still doing our job the best we can do it and not taking our eye off the ball, because we have goals to hit,” says John Phillips, vice president of SMB and MSP sales for the legacy SYNNEX portion of TD SYNNEX’s business. 

Phillips expects the unified SMB sales team to be fully in place roughly six months from now. “I would say probably October 1st, if I had to guess,” he predicts, noting that his team and the legacy Tech Data team are still using separate ERP systems.

So, in fact, are a lot of vendors and partners outside the company. Though TD SYNNEX announced plans to standardize on SYNNEX’s custom-built ERP platform, called CIS, earlier this year, plenty of people are still using Tech Data’s SAP implementation.

“It’s up to us to make sure that we train and that we have support and we have concierge white glove service, so no orders are lost and partners are comfortable,” says Sammy Kinlaw, senior vice president of sales communities for North America at TD SYNNEX. “That’s a lot of work and a heavy lift, but we’re starting the process.”

TD SYNNEX’s Canadian unit is actually well along the way already. “We’ve already moved a number of customers over and a decent amount of business over, and it’s been seamless so far,” says Vice President of Marketing Mark Hardy. Newcomers to CIS have been offering “lots of opinions, lots of feedback,” he continues, adding that the input is welcome. 

“It’s a new set of eyes and a new set of ideas, and it’s making a really good system even better,” he says.

So far, that behind-the-scenes labor, like the TD SYNNEX merger itself, hasn’t affected Varnex partners much.

“The cool thing is it doesn’t look like they’re laying off or restructuring and moving people around,” says Paul Benson, CEO of Virtual Communication Specialists, a solution provider in Athens, Texas.

Benson, who is also currently president of Varnex, is looking forward to the increased buying power TD SYNNEX partners will soon enjoy, along with other potential payoffs of the merger. “We’ll have better access to the manufacturers,” he says. “Maybe we’ll have better availability.”

That said, Benson confesses to having some concern about what happens if a product he needs is out of stock now that there’s one less alternate distributor to turn to. “I had three choices to go through before,” he notes.

For his part, Larocque sees nothing but upside ahead for partners, and not only after all the post-merger adjustments have been completed.

“You’re better off today than you were working with us prior to September 1st,” he said at this week’s conference, in a reference to the official date on which the TD SYNNEX merger closed. 

Indeed, over 6,000 partners have received upgraded financing since then. “Credit lines have been increased pretty massively in some cases,” says Phillips, who sees increased financing more generally as one of the top ways combining Tech Data and SYNNEX has benefitted channel pros. Increased access to outsourced professional services assistance, he continues, is another.

“It really opens up possibilities for those SMB resellers to win more business, to be able to perform jobs that they might have turned down in the past, if they didn’t have some kind of certification or knowledge of how to do that job,” Phillips says, noting also that TD SYNNEX delivers services all over the country. “Something that could be geographically far away, they can now take because we’re in all 50 states.”

Phillips and others point to TD SYNNEX’s expanded line card as another advantage partners now enjoy. Resellers couldn’t buy Palo Alto Networks products from Tech Data before, they note, and SYNNEX partners couldn’t buy products from Apple, Dell, or Veeam. 

“95% of everything sold in the channel, we carry,” LaRocque told conference attendees Monday. “We’re trying to figure out why the other 5% isn’t there.”

Vendors, for their part, are enjoying the ability to sell to a much larger partner base through a single distributor, says Kinlaw, who’s directly felt the results. Vendor membership revenue from the communities he leads (which include TechSelect and Stellr in addition to Varnex) was up 46% year over year in the first quarter of 2022.

“It’s crazy in a good way,” Kinlaw remarks. “The momentum started, and it’s built and built and built.”

Vendors of all kinds can expect to have more strategic planning conversations with TD SYNNEX going forward as well, according to Stegner, who now has over 375 people working for him. “We didn’t have time to do that before,” he notes.

Phillips expects the combined SMB salesforce to have more bandwidth for partner dialogue too. “We’re going to have even more people, probably more than double the team size,” he says.

Varnex itself is set to grow. The community currently has over 400 members, including 32 signed since start of the year. Kinlaw wants to add hundreds more.

“We have to grow, maybe not by 100%, but some,” he told members this week during a Monday keynote.

Avoiding growth for the sake of growth is important, though, he added in a subsequent conversation with ChannelPro. “TD SYNNEX has thousands of partners. I could easily recruit thousands of partners,” Kinlaw says. “I really am recruiting partners who want to sell solutions.”

Benson hopes expanding Varnex doesn’t change the culture that current members so appreciate. 

“The culture’s going to be the hard thing to hold onto as you get bigger. If you do it slowly and evolve like Varnex has [until now], no problem. If you just go double it overnight, you’re going to have some challenges,” says Benson, who’s optimistic that Kinlaw will manage growth effectively.

Effective management of all kinds is ultimately what matters most to partners, Stegner observes, not to mention TD SYNNEX itself. “[CEO] Rich Hume has the best line ever,” he says. “‘None of them really care that you’re a $60 billion company. They don’t care. What they care about is that they get good service, good follow-up, and they deal with the salespeople they trust.'”


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