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A month after announcing a 42 percent jump in fourth quarter revenues, Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions (ECS) becomes the latest distributor to try and carve out a bigger slice of the growing professional services pie.

Arrow is no stranger to services, but it has spun off the professional services unit it acquired with Alternative Technology in 2006 and named Joe Burke to head up the new business unit. He tells [ci] Channel Insider his group combines four existing service practices — education, support, consulting and managed or cloud services — and will be driven by a network of consultants, engineers, technicians and instructors across the North American organization.

Fellow value-added distributor
Avnet joined the fray in early February, while broadline distributor Tech Data beefed up its services offerings at the end of February and Ingram Micro has been providing a variety of services for years, including its own brand of managed services, Seismic.
As part of its new offerings, Arrow ECS now provides technical, engineering and educational support for the full portfolio of hardware, software and storage lines in North America. In addition, Burke says their proprietary services and select cloud computing and managed services are available to resellers and their customers through this organization. Existing services include supplier-authorized training, onsite security assessments, engineering services and 24-hour technical support for both resellers and their customers and he promises the portfolio will grow.

"We’ve been providing services to resellers for many years now. Services are becoming more a part of our reseller portfolio. There’s literally no IT today without some kind of service that goes along with it."

The announcement recognizes that how Arrow’s customers generate their revenue is changing, he says. "More of their revenues are derived through services and our setting up of this business unit is important for resellers", both for partners that are actively growing their services business, and those not as far along. "The more educated and armed our resellers are around services, the better," Burke says.

As part of the roll out, Arrow will be educating and certifying over 400 of its sales reps on the services portfolio. He believes it’s still early days in the professional services market, adds Burke, but that building on the AltTech nucleus means the distributor has a very powerful service portfolio and very seasoned people.

“As the services aggregator and provider, we save resellers from having to select, engage and manage service providers on their own, thereby protecting them from risk, investment costs and productivity losses,” he says. “Services and products are billed on a single invoice, we provide comprehensive presales and postsales product support, and we serve as the source for solution provisioning.”

Although sales were down slightly (2%) year-over-year, the distributor’s ECS business contributed $1.61 billion for the fourth quarter. North American sales were up 31% sequentially.