Solution providers often are able to drive innovation and new technology better than vendors or distributors, according to Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data, and this is where the distributor intends to focus its efforts.
Speaking to The Channel Insider, Dutkowsky said: “Someone once asked Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player, ‘How did you become such a great player?’ And Gretzky replied, ‘I skate to where the puck is going to be, not to where the puck is.’”
Dutkowsky believes that Tech Data can follow the same strategy and gain a key edge on its competition simply by concentrating on marketplace innovation and new technology. Skating to where the puck isor, in other words, moving ahead of the technology curveis the key, Dutkowsky said, to moving in a direction that provides Tech Data partners with a cutting-edge supply of goods, high-velocity delivery and innovative services.
The channel, he said, is often more forward-thinking than large vendors and even distributors can be, especially when it comes to emerging technology and markets. The growing need for green technology, for example, has spurred the growth of unified communications, video conferencing, and the focus on power consumption and cooling needs, he said. Vendor initiatives to push new technologies into new and emerging markets along with channel and customer demand coming from those same markets are fueling these movements, Dutkowsky said.
The channel will play a crucial role in driving most new innovation from the ground up, he said. Dutkowsky cites statistics that claim only 10 percent of the world has Internet access. The other 90 percent of the world’s population, he said, is where the opportunity lies and the channel is the vehicle that will provide access to the burgeoning market for infrastructure and connectivity. “Nobody’s in a better position to enable technology in the midmarket and emerging markets,” he said.
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The distributor’s AIS (Advanced Infrastructure Solutions) division helps resellers by providing education, training and access to high-end products, which helps shorten the learning curve between when resellers are made aware of new products and when they are able to sell and implement those for customers, Dutkowsky said. “Every 45 seconds a new SMB [small and midsize business] is formed, and an SMB goes out of business every minute,” Dutkowsky claimed. AIS is especially important for SMBs, since most VARs fall into that category, he said.