MISSISSAUGA – This week, Tech Data and Cisco unveiled the refreshed Tech Data Advanced Technology Solutions Centre (ATSC), located in Tech Data’s Mississauga headquarters. The upgraded facility, costing $1.75 million, now features Cisco Multicloud and Hyperconverged solutions, along with data protection from Commvault, storage components from NetApp, Veeam Availability Suite, and VMware Horizon with View. According to Cisco Canada president Rola Dagher, it’s the first time in Cisco’s history in Canada that it has developed a demo lab/innovation centre outside of Cisco facilities.
Customers and partners will be able to book the centre for training and demos, and will also be able to leverage it remotely thanks to Cisco Webex collaboration software and hardware, including a Cisco Webex Board.
Ed Galasso, vice-president and general manager general manager of Canada operations, at Tech Data, said “The ATSC has been a great resource for our customers in Canada. With the addition of Cisco Multicloud and Hyperconverged Solutions, our customers will be able to offer invaluable hands-on experience to their staff and clients that isn’t offered anywhere else in Canada—delivering a true advantage for our customers. We’re excited to get closer to Cisco in an area that they’re heavily invested because we think that will allow us to help our customers grow.”
Tech Data is now able to train customers and partners across the entire Cisco portfolio, Galasso noted. Before the refresh, the room received about 20 bookings per month, and he expects that to increase with the new technology.
“We’re forecasting a lot of net new opportunities through this,” Dagher said. “In the past year and a half that I’ve been in this position, I continually hear customers and partners talking about having something like this, so the success rate for me will be high in the next 6 – 12 months.”
And the centre is still a work in progress. “We will continue to add ecosystem partners into the demonstration centre,” Galasso said. “Our next big investment will be Microsoft and their Azure Stack.” And since the “A” in ATSC stands for Advanced, the technology must be kept current, and technical staff trained in order to allow customers to take advantage of what’s next, requiring a substantial investment from both companies. Dagher added that to her, the ROI is not just return on investment, it’s return on impact that the companies will see from their partners and customers.
Dave Power, vice-president of advanced solutions at Halifax-based IMP Solutions, was delighted with what he saw. “From a partner standpoint it’s going to allow us to leverage the investment that Tech Data and Cisco have made together versus doing it ourselves,” he said. “It’s not very often in the marketplace that you have the opportunity to leverage something of this nature. It’s a massive investment on a number of different platforms not just the point solution, and it’s going to be great for our business.”
He mainly plans to use the centre virtually, to save travel costs, but if IMP does an executive briefing, bringing the customers to the centre will be easier and more cost effective that flying them to Boston or San Francisco as it currently does.
“It’s better than what we were looking for,” he enthused. “We were expecting to see more point solutions, not an integrated approach where we could in essence fire up a customer’s production environment and show three or four different technologies at the same time.”