“The opportunity to do it as a private company really means having a longer-term view,” he says. “The quarterly drumbeat of the public markets causes you to behave a little bit differently.”
Though O’Shea’s title is new, he’s no newcomer to Tech Data. He joined the company, in fact, shortly after graduating from college.
“My first job was as a temporary employee, and I started off building databases for the marketing organization,” O’Shea recalls. Ensuing positions over the next 16 years took him through Tech Data’s finance and sales organizations and eventually led to senior leadership roles as vice president of the HP Solutions Group and vice president of product marketing for networking. Most recently, he led Tech Data’s global lifecycle management business.
From 2012 to 2016, however, O’Shea worked at Vology, a Tech Data partner in Clearwater, Fla., first as senior vice president of sales and then as president. A heavyweight MSP with over 300 employees and some 260,000 devices under management today, the company was still a VAR when O’Shea arrived. Participating in the company’s strategic makeover, he observes, was good preparation for his current job.
“[It] really gave me a unique perspective on what I think a lot of our partners are dealing with as the market is transforming, as the technology is transforming, as the economics of our business are transforming,” O’Shea says.
Nothing, of course, could have prepared O’Shea or anyone else for the arrival of COVID-19 and its severe economic effects. As company executives told ChannelPro last month, business has been relatively strong so far, for Tech Data and its partners, in strategic technologies.
“What I’ve seen is a tremendous degree of resiliency,” says O’Shea, who expects the rapid switch to remote work arrangements in response to the pandemic to fuel sales for some time to come.
“We are going to see, I would say, permanent changes to the way that we use technology and the way that organizations do business, whether it’s schools, whether it’s healthcare, whether it’s banking,” O’Shea says. “That creates a tremendous opportunity.”
Especially in cloud computing. “Growth in cloud-based technology has just gone through the roof,” O’Shea observes. Recent efforts like Tech Data’s Stay Connected program have sought to help channel pros capitalize on that trend.
“There’s a lot of information sharing, best practices sharing, to help everybody benefit from the resources that we have,” O’Shea states.
For the moment, he continues, talking to partners about needs, market conditions, and wishes for the future is what occupies most of his time. Translating that input into action will follow soon, however.
“The first 30 days is all about listening,” O’Shea says. “The next 30 days is really starting to understand and assess the best opportunities that we have to accelerate, and then really being able to come back and outline those priorities, aligned with the company strategy, to go and drive that acceleration.”