Tech Data: Mobility Market Expansion Plans
Tech Data today unveiled the latest in an ongoing series of platforms and solutions designed to help its solution providers boost productivity, reap new opportunities, and expand profits, with the debut of accessTD during its TechSelect partner convention in Orlando.
A mobile application for Apple’s iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, accessTD features many of the same capabilities that solution providers use on the distributor’s TechData.com website. In addition to product searches, availability, and order-tracking, the tool provides solution providers with personalized pricing and quotes based on their Tech Data IDs. Solution providers can add their logos and mark-up, and email quotes directly to customers from the app.
"Everybody can pick, pack and ship and do that well in the physical world. The question is, 'How can someone take that supply chain and transition that to the virtual world?’" said Joe Quaglia, senior vice president of U.S. marketing at Tech Data, in an interview.
The app, which is available now in the United States and is expected to become in available in Canada next month, can be downloaded free at Apple’s App Store. Tech Data plans to develop another app in HTML 5 that will work across other platforms such as Android, while continuing to drill deep into Apple’s operating system based on partners’ requests and feedback, said Phil Fillipelli, vice president of e-business, in an interview.
TechSelect partners expect the app to help them quickly check on and place orders, and answer customers’ questions while away from their desks.
"I think anyway you can take those important business systems with you so they’re available to you is fantastic," said Angela O’Donnell, president of W. O’Donnell Consulting, a Manhattan VAR that specializes in publishing and healthcare customers.
But accessTD is not the only project under-development at the distributor recently. Tech Data is looking to reduce the complexities typically associated with software licensing. Currently in beta with 20 ISVs and 20 resellers, the StreamOne Solutions Store is a business-to-business application-store that will give ISVs access to Tech Data’s thousands of resellers, and give Tech Data solution providers access to thousands of applications in a simple, easily-sellable format, Quaglia said in an interview.
"We made a large IT and process and people investment because we saw the opportunity for cloud and these hundreds of thousands of ISVs out there that don’t have a route to market to the channel," he said.
StreamOne provides a full-service online provisioning platform from software and cloud providers for products and services such as software, infrastructure, and electronic software download. Eventual reseller benefits are expected to include recurring monthly revenue; downloadable software titles; a consolidated monitoring dashboard; a white-label solutions store for reseller ecommerce sites; enablement and training through TDCloud Academy; industry-specific vertical solutions, and simplified billing management, according to Tech Data. The white-label version is slated to be released in spring, Fillipelli told Channel Insider.
In February, Tech Data released the first step of StreamOne, a software license selector.
"We designed it and brought it to market because fewer and fewer resellers were selling and getting involved in complex software licensing," Quaglia said. "Resellers were leaving revenue and margin on the table. Now with software license revenue it’s a one, two, three, four step process with 100 percent accuracy. It’s a process that went from days to minutes."
The software licensing tool has already been a big time-saver for W.O’Donnell Consulting, said O’Donnell, especially when comparing alternate permutations for a customer.
"To do that over the phone is painful and you always worry there’ll be some information that’s missed. Their SKU Selector allows you to go in, answer a few questions, and you know it’s correct. And you can save it and go back to it at a later time. It makes it a lot less painful," she said. "And then you can go through and place an order."
Further expanding its focus on mobility, in January, Tech Data plans to open-up a TDMobility program to all solution provider customers, giving them the opportunity to resell and manage a complete mobility plan, Quaglia told Channel Insider.
"You don’t have to go too far to see what’s moving in the marketplace today and mobility’s at the top of the list. We recognized that a year ago and saw there was a gaping hole for resellers to put together a mobility plan for their customers," he said. "Not one single distributor or source had the entire solution available for a reseller, nor did a reseller have the ability to own the relationship and transaction for the life of that transaction and relationship."
Through its partnership with BrightStar, TDMobility allows resellers to sell a complete, SKU-able mobility solution that includes everything from hardware and software to services and mobility plan through telecommunications companies including AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint, Quaglia told Channel Insider. Tech Data is currently in discussions with Verizon, he said.
"It is just as easy as it is as buying anything else from Tech Data. You never have to go any further than Tech Data for the servicing of the solution," Quaglia said in an interview." The end-user believes you are in total control of that solution. You can present as a reseller to your e-u the rate plans, devices, software (security), accessories, as well as the contract… it’s all done in one contract with Tech Data."
And, instead of waiting up to 180 days for activation commissions, solution providers will receive payment within 30 days, he told Channel Insider.