New Avnet boss is driving a vertical solutions focus

Colorado Springs, Colo. – Since his appointment three months ago as president of the Americas for Avnet Technology Solutions, an operating group of Avnet Inc., Jeff Bawol is nearing the end of his 100-day plan, where he evaluated the company and its channel strategies. As he hits the 90-day mark, Bawol says he’s pleased with the direction the solutions-focused distributor is headed.

Bawol took over for Fred Cuen, who is now senior vice-president of customer and supplier loyalty with parent company Avnet. In this role, Cuen is responsible for overseeing Avnet’s employee satisfaction survey and supplier index and extending them out on a global basis. Cuen now reports to Rick Hamada, Avnet’s chief operating officer.

Bawol, who has nearly 30 years of service under his belt with Avnet, says in his short time as president of the Americas for ATS, his priorities have been an increasing focus in solution areas such as virtualization, storage, security and services.

“We’re trying to be much more focused than we were before,” Bawol said. “In the past, we haven’t done a good job of that. We want to use our resources to enable our partners around certain solution areas, which is why we now have HealthPath, GovPath and Virtual Path University.”

By making these training courses available to its VAR partners, Bawol says the channel will be better able to focus on a specific solution area. “We think that by focusing more on the solutions area that we can accelerate their success faster.”

With the introduction of HealthPath University two years ago, Bawol says 270 partners have already been trained in this area. After completing the three-day-long course, he says partners have shown signs of improvement in the field by 65 per cent year over year. Following the success of HealthPath, Bawol says Avnet also came to market with GovPath University and more recently, VirtualPath University.

Along with the fast growing healthcare, virtualization and government markets, Bawol says server growth in Canada has also been a successful area for its partners. Canada, he says, was much quicker to adopt the x86 products than the U.S. was.

“I think Canada was quicker to adopt the x86 strategy because Canada tends to have more SMBs,” he said. “With x86, that also accelerates into the whole idea of virtualization and security. I think that puts Canadian partners a bit further along because they’ve already been playing in the space.”

Mike Hurst, vice-president and general manager of Avnet Technology Solutions Americas, Sun Solutions Group, says the x86 market in Canada is a big one to be in right now.

“Growth in the Sun business in Canada was about 23 per cent year on year,” Hurst said. “I think this will continue this year because the x86 business in Canada has opened up a lot of opportunities with Sun and its services. We need to continue to exploit the x86 business and let the services pull the hardware and software.”

Aside from specific solution areas, Bawol says his goal is to enable partners to become knowledgeable in the IT channel industry.

“If partners can differentiate themselves from the other partners that are out there, I’d be very proud of that,” he said. “And if we ever become known as the distributor that enables our partners along the way, I think that will be huge news for us.”

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Maxine Cheung
Maxine Cheung
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