DENVER, COLO – Painting a picture of a technology industry that has weathered the worst the economic downturn had to give it and has survived, distributor Avnet Technology Solutions (ATS) (Nasdaq: AVT) turned its attention at its annual Sun Microsystems partner conference to helping partners be positioned to capitalize on the coming economic rebound.
Solutions and specialization are the key to future success declared Mike Hurst, vice-president and general manager of Avnet’s Sun solutions group. To that end, Avnet has launched its SolutionsPath Playbooks. Available on Avnet’s partner portal, the playbooks are comprehensive reference guides tied to specific solutions with all the technical, market, marketing and sales information a reseller needs to be successful in a specific solution play.
“In the near-term, I believe we stand to benefit from pent-up demand. Looking ahead to 2010 and beyond, the opportunity is clearing going to be in specialization,” said Hurst. “Being the go-to partner and owning the customer relationship enables you to add value regardless of which technologies or brands you work with.”
To help, Avnet has identified the sweet spots, technology stacks, skill sets and even the marketing messages resellers need to succeed in those specializations, said Hurst.
It’s part of the evolution of Avnet from volume distributor to value-added distributor and now to a solutions distributor said Tony Vottima, vice-president of the solutions marketing and development group for ATS Americas.
The Playbook library numbers about 75 different solutions and is growing, and each area has been evaluated to ensure market opportunity, channel opportunity, selling complexity and therefore margin, and solution adjacency to current business areas.
The Playbooks are designed as the next step beyond Avnet’s vertical-specific “university” training courses, which include HealthPath, GovPath, SecurePath and VirtualPath.
The Playbooks draw on a sports inspiration, said Vottima, with each solution playbook containing categories called The Play (overview of the solution play), Players (key suppliers and services), Game Plan (a detailed business plan), Tools (resources for marketing and selling, Instant Replay (webinars and podcasts), Team (Avnet and supplier support contacts) and Whiteboard (broad comprehensive graphical view).
Bradley Brodkin, president of Toronto-based HighVail Systems, a Sun partner and Avnet customer, said his team definitely sees value in the Playbooks. While they had access to some of the information before, it was all in different places and formats. Having it all pulled together and integrated will be valuable for his sales team.
“It’s going to allow us to walk into the customers better prepared, so when a customer asks a question we’re going to have a question now for them on the spot, and we’re going to have the credibility and the data to back that up for them on the spot,” said Brodkin.