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Avnet extends programs for HP partners

Changes help VARs go deeper into storage, business intelligence

Avnet Technology Solutions has broadened two value-added programs for its Hewlett-Packard Canadian partners.

Announced at this week’s annual conference for Avnet HP resellers in Phoenix, one program extends ATS’ Consolidation Impact Analysis offering to include storage, while the second adds SAS to Avnet’s ISV Alliance program, which sees partners teamed with software vendors on sales calls.

The Consolidation Impact Analysis program, which began some 18 months ago, arms trained partners or ATS staff to analyze a customer’s IT system for possible server consolidation on HP blades.

Under the program, a software tool is used to collect server usage data, which the partner or ATS use to design a solution. ATS staff then do a financial analysis which the partner presents to the customer to support a sale.

But Avnet realized that not only did part of the analysis involve looking at some of the customers’ current storage capacity, the recommended solutions usually involved buying or updating storage.

As a result the analysis program is being extended to look not only at direct attached storage, but also storage attached networks and tape storage.

“We’re taking the same methodology (as the server analysis) and adding a storage component so we’re crossing a broader spectrum of the IT infrastructure,” said Rick Alvarez, vice-president and general manager of ATS’ HP business unit.

“When we sell a solution based on a server assessment, we’re dragging (attaching) about 25 per cent of the total sale in storage. It’s a significant opportunity. This will help our partners exploit that.”

ATS Canada has field teams in Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa that can help its partners do all or part of the assessments.

Brian Aebig, director of Canadian sales for ATS’ HP business unit, said the company currently has $21 million in its pipeline now from the server consolidation program. “We expect to see a similar level generated over the course of the next six months,” he added.

It takes between four and eight weeks to a customer assessment.

While it takes a partner staffer only two days to go through the training to offer a server or storage analysis, Aebig said only six Canadian Avnet partners are fully qualified. The rest rely on Avnet staff for all or part of the assessment.

ATS also announced that SAS has joined its ISV Alliance, bringing the total number of companies involved to 16. A vendor of business intelligence applications, SAS joins other BI members of the alliance such as Hyperion Informatica and Cognos.

Under the program, ATS pairs an ISV with a HP resellers on calls to C-level executives to offer hardware-software packaged solutions.

SAS is providing its Enterprise BI Server, a suite of business intelligence software, while Avnet will deliver HP Itanium-based Integrity servers and storage, third-party software for database management and analytics, and education, sales, marketing, financing and implementation services.

“It isn’t historical that hardware and software vendors would always work arm and arm together in the filed,” said Robert Olander, responsible for ATS’ ISV Alliance. “If I’m the average software vendor I would want to remain hardware-agnostic, throw my solution out there, have the person say they’ll buy it, and then let the customer figure out which vendor has the solution that is most appropriate.

“But we’ve done the benchmark docs in advance and we walk in with the joint solution, total cost demonstratable ROI. It’s much easier for the prospect.”

There are an estimated 400 people at the conference, including 28 Canadians from 15 VARs.

ATS is the VAR division of Avnet Inc.