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Global distributor Avnet has launched an industry-specific data analytics initiative for its IBM business partners in the United States and Canada. While the first solutions are targeting high-growth finance, insurance and retail industries, future solutions are expected to align with strategic segments that Avnet has invested in over the years such as health care and energy.

Under the new initiative, Avnet’s data analytics specialists will provide IBM business partners with training, pipeline development support, industry education, and pre- and post-sales services. This approach enables business partners to work collaboratively with the IBM sales team to meet specialized needs of customers by industry. 

At the same time, partners get access to complementary technology in segments such as the internet of things, the cloud, mobility, cognitive computing, data center, security and enterprise networking.

Avnet’s specialization approach to data analytics, and its view that distribution is becoming more of a solutions specialist, is not surprising. Earlier this year, Avnet announced a specialist business unit approach for key technology areas with high growth.

The foundation of the new Avnet initiative is built on IBM’s industry analytics solutions, or modules, that feature pre-built analytics capabilities. The solutions include pre-built predictive analytic modeling patterns, interfaces for focused industry use cases, and interactive and role-specific dashboards.

IBM is “channelizing these offerings,” said Colin Blair, vice president of data analytics and IOT solutions, Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas.  “Through industry engagements, IBM Systems Lab Services have created pre-configured data models based upon the repeatability of those engagements.”

The benefits for IBM business partners include reducing the risks and costs associated with creating a data analytics practice, by giving them access to resources and connections to identify and close industry analytics sales quickly, Blair said.

“We see data analytics playing a pivotal part in where our industry is going to be in the next 15 to 20 years,” he said. “We want to provide that enablement and training of partners so they can offer these analytics solutions, which we believe will be offered as a service.”

It will increasingly become a recurring revenue type of opportunity, and still drive a lot of hardware and software infrastructure, both on- and off-premise, he added.

Blair also expects more vendors to offer pre-built analytics modules by industry, and is working with them to drive these kinds of solutions. “Time will tell how it will manifest itself, but for the channel, I often tell the suppliers that they need to have programs in these growth areas and these programs—channelized offerings—have to be predictable, profitable and consistent.”

“It will definitely be by industry and by technology,” said Blair. “Even though there are a lot of data experts in the industry, there are very specific nuances within each of these industries.”

Gina Roos has been covering technology and the channel for more than 25 years. A co-founder and executive editor of EPS News, she has also served as an editor for EBN, EETimes and Electronics Sourcing.