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Enabling VARs and making their lives a little easier is now the name of the game for distributors, according to Mike Nowlan of Arrow Electronics.

It is no longer enough to source and move product, said Nowlan, director of product marketing at Arrow Enterprise Computer Solutions’ IBM Business Unit.

“The end game is to enable them to sell more product,” Nowlan said. “The goal is to make sure resellers have the core requirements and skills and abilities to sell and support what they are selling and to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. That means helping them get through and pass certifications and adding value where we can.”

Arrow’s IBM group is helping VARs get IBM certifications with May Days, a weeklong session beginning May 15 in Indianapolis of courses in 82 sales and technical certifications and a Certification Lab of 40 testing stations offering more than 175 IBM hardware and software certifications.

VAR staffers took 1,000 certification tests last year, with more than 400 passing, Nowlan said.

Pointer Click here to read about Arrow PowerTrack, a weeklong session of HP certifications and testing.

Arrow considers the program part of its partner enablement role—aggregating the cost of certain activities across a broader base—now becoming the primary function of distributors, Nowlan said.

Since its inception 10 years ago, Arrow has taken advantage of the captive audience at May Days with IBM executive briefings, trends and directions seminars from industry leaders, and a solution centers with more than 40 IBM ISVs. This year, Arrow added a solutions lab, where engineers can test software solutions on IBM hardware and software, Nowlan said.

“It’s become a mini-partner conference,” he said. “It’s all value-add to get more people to sell more product.”