IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Tech Data Launches Digital Editions of Security Practice Builder Program and Security Solution Research Tool

Both offerings debuted yesterday in Dallas at ChannelPro’s first SMB Forum event of 2020. By Rich Freeman

Tech Data has introduced an online, self-paced edition of its Practice Builder business development program for partners who want to add security solutions and services to their offerings.

The company introduced that resource as well as a web-based edition of its RECON SPI security product research tool at the ChannelPro SMB Forum event yesterday in Dallas.

The original security Practice Builder, which remains available, is an intensive, six-month consulting engagement that includes extensive face-to-face interaction. Resource constraints limited access to the program to just 50, mostly larger, partners last year. Creating a digital version will allow a far greater number of firms to benefit from the same content, according to Tracy Holtz, Tech Data’s director of security solutions.

“It’s really bringing all of our high-touch Practice Builder methodology into a digitized format so our SMB partners and midsize clients can access it 24/7,” she says.

Any Tech Data partner can use the new resource, which officially debuted this week, for free. The system includes an assessment tool that helps users evaluate their current security know-how and design a customized training curriculum based on the results.

With long-term demand for point product distribution waning, Tech Data has invested heavily in recent years in a strategic transformation process aimed at reinventing the company as a “solutions aggregator” for the security, cloud computing, Internet of Things, and endpoint computing markets. 

Practice Builder programs are designed to help partners similarly evolve their business model for a new age of IT. Tech Data launched its first Practice Builders late in 2017, and announced a digital version of its cloud computing Practice Builder in October 2018. More than 1,300 partners completed the online cloud Practice Builder process in the first two quarters of Tech Data’s 2020 fiscal year, the company said last summer.

Also available online as of this week is RECON SPI, Tech Data’s solution finder tool for its giant security product catalog (the SPI part of the name stands for “supplier product inventory”). Previewed at the company’s Security Enforce conference in Chandler, Ariz., last November, along with the online security Practice Builder, the system lets users search by solution type, manufacturer, and customer size, among other variables, as well as by the five sections of the federal government’s NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

“It really takes the complexity today that exists in the market around cybersecurity solutions and makes them simpler for partners to procure and consume,” Holtz says. Hosting the solution on Tech Data’s website will make keeping RECON SPI’s contents up to date with the latest product additions easier, she continues.

Tech Data introduced a tool similar to RECON SPI for researching managed security products, called RECON MSP, last May. The company’s RECON platform includes a wide array of subscription-priced products in niche product categories and outsourced services for tasks like SOC analysis.

Security Enforce attendees were among the first outsiders to visit Tech Data’s Cyber Range education and demonstration center, which opened in Tempe, Ariz., during the conference. According to Holtz, traffic at the new facility has been heavy since then.

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