Avnet is betting big on services

SAN ANTONIO, TX – As a value-added solutions distributor, Avnet Technology Solutions (NYSE: AVT ) works toward its multi-million dollar business goal, company executives highlighted the importance of services and channel-led play in this area.

Earlier this year, the distributor hired Steve Kedzior, formerly from Insight Enterprises , as vice-president and general manager, services for Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas. In this newly created position, Kedzior has the job of leading the design and implementation of the company’s services strategy and helping partners leverage the services offerings from Avnet’s SolutionsPath Services portfolio.

CDN caught up with Kedzior, who’s been in his Avnet post for the past five months. We spoke to him about what he’s been up to since he joined the company, what Avnet’s services strategy looks and where the channel and market opportunities lie now and into the future.

CDN Now: What are you responsible for at ATS?

Steve Kedzior: As the vice-president and general manager for services at ATS Americas, I’m in charge of developing our services strategy for next three to five years and to execute on that strategy.

CDN Now: What does Avnet’s services strategy look like?

>b>S.K.: It’s still a work in progress. We’re making sure we have a crisp plan for the next few years. I joined the Avnet team five months ago and I’ve spent the last few months learning about Avnet, the ecosystem and culture and talking to customers. The services plan I’ve come out with is under executive review right now. What I can say though is that our services strategy should be aligned with our business partners and with our suppliers so we can all be successful. The plan for our services strategy is to stay around data centre-centric services because that’s where the demand is. Some of our VARs have specializations and some want to grow in other areas. Right now, there’s lots of demand with the overall cloud strategy and in offering services around the cloud. There’s also a lot of interest around assessment services, such as with data centre optimization, and we’ll continue to expand our assessment services. As far as gaps go, there are some common ones with going deeper and broader in a virtualization strategy and the cloud has created both a gap and an opportunity here. It’s about tools, processes and people.

CDN Now: Where are the high growth, money making opportunities for partners right now?

S.K.: There’s a tremendous amount of growth within our current channel with some basic tactical services around the data centre. Partners are still not fulfilling a lot of the demand around maintaining and managing optimal data centres. Whether there’s a cloud strategy in place or convergence, at end of day, the average CIO wants to optimize their data centre. Assessments are important to helping to optimize data centres. Data centre optimization is a tremendous opportunity and there are lots of services opportunities for VARs. When it comes to the cloud, I’d encourage partners to stay grounded on the data centre. Cloud is an opportunity to optimize the data centre and VARs should offer a holistic approach, a consultative engagement and have business discussions with their customers.

CDN Now: What’s the biggest challenge partners face when it comes to services, and what’s Avnet doing to help?

S.K.: The challenge from a services perspective isn’t a technical or services challenge. It’s a sales challenge. Any services offering requires an investment with skills and people. A lot of what we’re doing is through our SolutionsPaths , which are designed to train and consult our VARs.

CDN Now: Where does Avnet see the future of services headed and what’s next

S.K.: The goal for us long-term is that services will outpace hardware from a growth standpoint. We’re starting to focus on changing our mix and portfolio. There are some parameters around our services model where we want it to be VAR-centric and we want to enable our VARs rather than compete with them. At Avnet, we have a services team that’s dedicated to Avnet professional services, which is directly under my responsibility and we also have various teams throughout the enterprise which are not directly under my organization. As we move forward with our strategy, we need to decide strategically where we want to accelerate with the most growth and we want to make sure we’re growing our overall services business by focusing on key categories. The services plan is still under executive review, but I expect we’ll have a clearer idea of what that strategy will look like by the end of this year.

Follow Maxine Cheung on Twitter: @MaxineCheungCDN .

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
Staff Writer, Computer Dealer News

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