Tech Data Looks Beyond Computing

By Jessica Davis  |  Print this article Print


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With a new CEO at its helm, the distributor is moving to expand its technology horizons.

Computing just scratches the surface of the sales opportunities in the technology industry, and Tech Data is promising to help the company's VARs win those deals of the future.

That was CEO Bob Dutkowsky's message in his first address to the TechSelect VAR community within Tech Data during that organization's conference in Salt Lake City on May 4. Dutkowsky joined the distributor in October 2006 after a 30-year career on the vendor side.

"This 'CrackBerry' device has more computing capacity than that IBM mainframe of 30 years ago," Dutkowsky said. "There's a fully functioning ERP [enterprise resource planning] system in every commercial airplane today. The world has evolved to a completely different set of computing requirements."

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Back when Dutkowsky started in the industry, the interaction between people and technology was done in groups, because there wasn't enough of the technology to go around, he said. But today it is all about the individual, with new devices and services such as the iPod, YouTube and Facebook. "Technology is moving in a radically different direction," he said.

In 2007, total revenues from technology purchases are projected to come to $715 billion. But if you combine the revenues of three top distributors, Ingram Micro, Tech Data and Synnex, the total revenues are just about $70 billion.

"We are just scratching the surface," Dutkowsky said.

To act on the opportunities ahead, Tech Data is putting together some new initiatives. The company is putting in new warehouse management systems in all of its U.S. warehouses—the same systems that have increased the responsiveness of its European warehouses by 25 percent in the last year.

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Diversification will also be a focus, Dutkowsky said. For example, Tech Data's new Advanced Infrastructure Solutions group is expanding the company's focus into emerging areas such as the data center, through blade servers, virtualization and storage.

A third element of the company's new initiatives is innovation, and Dutkowsky pointed to the company's MyOpportunityTracker offering as an example. The Web-based service provides VARs with reports about which service contracts are coming up for renewal. Easy access to this information arms VARs with the weapons they need for easy sales.

Jessica Davis covers the channel for eWeek and Channel Insider. Her technology journalism career began well before anyone heard of the World Wide Web and has included stints at Infoworld, Electronic News/EDN, and the Philadelphia Business Journal. Her work has also appeared on CNN and Forbes.com. She has covered hardware, software and networking, as well as the business side of technology. She has won several journalism awards, including a national ASBPE award for best staff-written column, and was named Marketing Computers hardest working tech journalist on their inaugural list of top tech journalists. Jessica can be reached at jessica.davis@ziffdavisenterprise.com

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