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Access paints a new palette for VARs

Distributor creates new practices to meet partner needs, including one for emerging technologies

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Every business opportunity is a blank canvas and it’s up to channel partners to create their own masterpiece. This message echoed throughout Access Distribution’s annual New Frontiers conference, which drew over 300 resellers from Canada and the U.S.

In order to be successful in today’s markets, companies need to bring a new level of creativity, imagination and innovation to their businesses, said company president and CEO Anna McDermott in her keynote address.

“It’s about creating something unique, a new demand, meeting unmet needs. And the result is a tremendous leap in value for you and your customers,” said McDermott.

As an example of the company’s own approach to growth opportunities, McDermott pointed out its recent partnership with communications vendor Avaya Inc.

“Gartner predicts 95 per cent of all industries will adopt Voice over IP in the next five years,” she said. Adding that, with the help of the partner community, Access is looking forward to carving out a new area of technology expertise.

In addition, McDermott said, “we’re planning on announcing new partnerships in the biometric space in the next five months.”

To effectively align processes and focus around established and emerging technologies, McDermott announced two new business practices.

The mature technologies organization will oversee vendors in established markets, including servers, storage, services and software, whose technologies have reached a critical mass and have an established channel program.

Mike Hurst is vice-president of the mature technologies business. “We do see commoditization, price pressure and a lot of competition,” he said. “The strategy is ultimately to focus and address these markets in such a way that provides differentiation and allows us and our partners to be successful in a mature market.”

He added that by bringing various business practices together into one entity, Access will provide a much more cohesive go to market strategy.

“We’re able to centralize the IP of the organization, leverage the leadership of our 15-year relationship with Sun (Microsystems), a 10-year relationship with StorageTek and more than a six-year relationship with Symantec,” he said.

The plan is to understand “the golden nuggets of those markets, the opportunities of differentiation that allow you to excel in a market space, to maintain margins, grow profit and not compete based on point products or price,” added Hurst.

The second new business practice is emerging technologies, led by Scott Zahl, the former vice-president of marketing and vendor relations.

Zahl will oversee the company’s new focus on providing channel programs to vendors with up and coming technologies that are predicted to have a high impact on the market and outpace mature technologies in both growth and profitability.

The practice will focus on recruiting new customers in hot growth markets such as VoIP, wireless technologies and network forensics.