Everything as a Service
Cloud solutions, it turns out, aren’t the only thing businesses like paying for in monthly installments. The predictable, OpEx-based procurement model that makes SaaS applications so appealing is driving increased demand for subscription-priced hardware and on-premises software too.
“It makes it easier for them to budget and balance out finances per month, instead of paying one giant lump sum,” Vu notes.
D&H, Ingram Micro, TD SYNNEX, and others all now offer as-a-service purchasing options alongside more traditional leasing programs as a result.
Perhaps the biggest, most strategic shift all of the broadline distributors have made in recent years is from shipping products to building solutions. Indeed, several distributors no longer even call themselves distributors anymore. “We’re much more what I consider a solution aggregator,” says D&H Co-President Dan Schwab, invoking a label that premerger Tech Data embraced years ago.
The difference, Schwab and others say, is that rather than simply sell you a collection of hardware and software, distributors can now preintegrate those components for you and provide detailed deployment instructions and associated sales and marketing materials as well. The “ready-to-deploy” security, Internet of Things, and other solutions Tech Data began rolling out earlier this year, which were in turn inspired by the “click-to-run” cloud and IoT solutions the company has been issuing since 2019, are examples, as is the storage/BDR solution Ingram Micro released in partnership with Veeam and Zadara this March.
Channel pros like Vu appreciate the convenience. “It’s all essentially one SKU coming from them,” he says. “I push a button, it works.”
Explaining preassembled solutions to customers is simpler than handing them a lengthy bill of materials too, Vu notes. “It makes buying easier for them and selling easier for me.”
Distributors can make buying and selling easier for partners even when they don’t have a ready-made solution in stock, notes Crystal. TD SYNNEX’s “Solv” groups, like the COLLABSolv unit for collaboration and VISUALSolv team for digital signage and Pro AV, provide guidance that channel pros can draw on when designing and delivering customized solutions.
“There are all these different areas where they have experts,” Crystal observes.