Back in 1985 IBM had a brand new CEO named John Akers and its Boca Raton, Fla.-based research labs came up with the first personal computer (1981). By 1985 the PC thanks in part to the Charlie Chaplin commercials hit its stride in the market place. For businesses, the PC was unchartered territory and what they needed more than the technology was someone who could explain and install these machines to the benefit of all these businesses. Many new IT solution providers cropped up sensing the opportunity of a lifetime because of the IBM PC. These businesses were also technically challenged and this is where Avnet comes in. Unlike other broadline distributors that just did pick, pack and ship Avnet was a value added distributor who helped solution providers understand what was then complex technology.
Today, Avnet and IBM celebrated 25 years of partnership. This partnership is a global one in more than 30 countries. In addition, Avnet has reached $3 billion in annual sales of IBM technology solutions and services, generating greater than 20 per cent growth year-over-year in IBM sales during Avnet’s fiscal year 2010.
Certainly IBM has been good for Avnet; but what about IBM. Avnet expanded its IBM Business Partner relationship beyond North America to include six countries in EMEA in 1997. Avnet further increased the global footprint of its IBM relationship in 2007 to include the Asia Pacific region, acquiring Azure Technologies. Over the past decade, Avnet has more than doubled its IBM business in North America, and Avnet significantly expanded its reach into Latin America with IBM when it acquired Tallard Technologies in 2010. Avnet’s Business Partner relationship with IBM spans four regions: North America, Latin America, EMEA and Asia Pacific.Tony Madden, global supplier business executive, Avnet Technology Solutions, said together, Avnet and IBM are creating a smarter channel that has the skills and resources needed to become trusted advisors to IBM’s end customers by providing complete industry-focused business solutions.
Cisco Systems won the Vendor Partner of the Year award. Over the last year, the companies collaborated to make the right marketing investments, more closely aligned sales strategies and enhanced their execution on behalf of resellers. The result was the most successful year yet for the partnership between these two industry leaders, with strong hardware and services sales growth, especially in the SMB market.
Jennifer Sheppard of Belkin won the Vendor Representative of the Year award. Sheppard is the national account manager at Belkin International and she worked tireless to ensure that Belkin successfully leveraged its relationship with Tech Data to engage the distributor’s sales teams and reseller customers to drive new sales opportunities.
Other award winners are Ergotron for Sales and Marketing Innovator of the Year; Microsoft for Best SMB-Focused Vendor Partner of the Year; Apple for Retail Vendor Partner of the Year; LifeSize for Growth Vendor Partner of the Year; and IBM won for Inventory Optimization Vendor Partner of the Year.