IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

D&H Has a Little Swagger in its Step

Growing fast in strategic markets like cloud computing and pro AV, the now 101-year-old distributor exuded a palpable sense of confidence at last week’s Technology Conference Mid-West. By Rich Freeman

D&H’s Technology Conference Mid-West, held last week outside Chicago, had all the hallmarks of the distributor’s other regional partner events. 

An expo hall with dozens of exhibitors? Check. Sessions about the latest solutions from Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, Sophos, and other leading vendors? Check. Presentations from thought leaders like Tiffani Bova, Salesforce’s growth and innovation evangelist and author of the book Growth IQ? Check.

If you were paying close attention, though, you may have detected a little something else not listed in the agenda: Swagger. Over a century after its founding, three months after reporting 17% growth in its prior fiscal year, and weeks before the opening of a big new headquarters facility, D&H is exuding a palpable sense of confidence these days.

“Winning leads to confidence,” observes Peter DiMarco, the company’s vice president of VAR sales.

Key to D&H’s winning formula is what DiMarco calls a “maniacal” focus on resellers too small to get regular attention from larger distributors. “They’re bigger, and so they’ve got bigger customers that they’re serving,” DiMarco says.

Partners notice it too, according to Jason Bystrak, who joined D&H as vice president of cloud early this year following more than two decades at Ingram Micro. “I hear that all the time,” he says. “‘I can’t get a call back from so and so. I see they’re doing stuff, but I don’t know how to get engaged with it.’”

Bystrak is a key player in another element of D&H’s growth strategy—a concentrated focus on cloud computing, pro AV, and other high-potential market opportunities. In the roughly six months since stepping into his current role, Bystrak has expanded the cloud unit he leads from six people to 30 while contributing to D&H’s 107% cloud revenue growth last year. 

“Trajectory-wise for the business, it’s on the hockey stick that we were hoping for,” Bystrak says. “Sequentially now each month, we’re seeing very strong double-digit growth in new bookings and new sales, which is exactly what we were looking for.”

And that was before the unveiling in June of D&H’s all-new cloud marketplace. Designed to be more than just a provisioning portal for online applications, the site includes functionality for building and selling cloud solutions called “clusters” that combine foundation products like Microsoft Office 365 with complementary systems in areas like security and BDR, plus management and help desk services from partners and D&H itself.

Currently in pilot mode and set to enter full-scale production within weeks is additional functionality that will let partners add hardware—along with repairs, asset disposition, and other lifecycles services—to clusters. “The partner can either choose to use services from our portfolio to address the needs they have, or they can use their own services,” Bystrak says.

Though D&H expects laptops and workstations to be the most commonly bundled devices, it’s developing hardware-software-services clusters for a variety of specialized solutions. A new videoconferencing cluster, for example, will combine Microsoft Teams with devices from vendors like Logitech and Poly, plus installation services.

“The goal there is to help partners set up an SMB conference room cost-effectively,” Bystrak notes. Traditional VARs eager to earn recurring revenue will have the option of selling the solution, like all of the other clusters D&H offers, on an as-a-service basis. “You can have the whole thing for a monthly subscription if you want,” Bystrak notes.

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