IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

New Business for Custom Builders

D&H Distributing co-president Michael Schwab sees an opportunity for system builders to reestablish their presence in the channel--right now. Here are the opportunities of the day. By Geoffrey Oldmixon

It was "System Builder Summer" at D&H Distributing this year. From the launch of a new catalog geared toward white box makers to the company’s System Builder Month (August), it was made perfectly clear that the Harrisburg, Pa.-based distributor sees opportunities for custom builders.

“A system builder has the ability to stabilize its presence in the market,” D&H co-president Michael Schwab told Channel Pro-SMB during a sit-down meeting at the distributor’s New England Technology Show in Quincy, Mass., earlier this month. “For the moment,” he says, “there are a lot of product improvements you could not source from a tier-one OEM.”

Opportune Time

Schwab concedes that commoditization has made it hard for system builders to compete with major OEMs. “There was a moment in time,” he says, “when the Tier 1 OEMs eclipsed the builders.”

Now, however, there are opportunities for builders, and Schwab says D&H is “very bullish” on getting them to grab those opportunities. “With every piece of the puzzle from the processor on down, we see significant performance,” he says.

So, what are some of the areas presenting opportunities for builders right now? Here are a few:

  • Creative Media. Many office workers do intensive computing, Schwab says. “They’re using very good applications and need high-end systems.” From graphics to audio to video applications, benefits can be realized from performance hard drives and upgraded memory.
  • Gaming. “Our best-selling video game this year was for the PC,” says Schwab. “This is a consumer play, and there are opportunities for system builders.” Schwab cites high-end graphics cards, including 3D technology, as playing a role.
  • Physical Security. “As the world looks at its data network,” Schwab explains, “the opportunity to focus on physical security becomes much more prevalent.” Schwab believes this could lend itself to proprietary networked solutions for retailers and others dealing with financial and personal data.

Schwab urges system builders to seize the day. “People inherently like the status quo,” he says. “If they were successful doing what they did in the past, their inclination is to continue doing that. But if they don’t see the opportunities that are a little more forward-thinking, someone else will.”

GEOFFREY OLDMIXON is a Massachusetts-based business and technology writer.

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