Synnex Canada president sets priorities for 2013

Las Vegas – Mitchell Martin is taking a cautious approach to the distribution market in Canada. At the VARnex Conference, held here, the president of Synnex Canada quelled the excitement a little bit over the new One IT platform. Call him Canadian, call him conservative but Martin told CDN that he wants to make sure any new initiative is ready for prime time before it comes to Canada.

One area that got Martin really excited was the VARnex Canada membership growth. He described his feelings for VARnex Canada in one word: “thrilled.”

In just three years VARnex has reach the same levels of more mature buying groups such as Ingram Micro’s VentureTech Network and Tech Data’s TechSelect.

CDN got an opportunity to sit down with Martin at the VARnex Conference to discuss new initiatives for 2013 as well as the Government of Canada’s new IT procurement direction. The following is an edited transcript.

CDN Now: The One IT platform got a lot of solution providers excited at this show. When do you plan to introduce One IT in Canada?

Mitchell Martin: We tend to let the U.S. work it out with One IT. We want to be selective in Canada and not try to do too many things. As of right now my focus is on bringing CloudSolv and RenewSolv up to Canada. At this point, more work needs to be done to get them ready for prime time and I expect those two programs to be in Canada during the first half to the later half of 2013. I want to go big quickly. We’ll wait until it is truly scalable before we bring it up to Canada. As for One IT, it will be a platform that integrates all of our solutions together. It will be the glue to get the programs together.

CDN Now: How do you explain the quick growth in membership of VARnex Canada?

M.M.: I’m thrilled! We have taken the membership from 47 in 2011 to 81 as of this show. And, it’s not just anybody. When I analyze it we have top SMB players in every province. And, it’s all about the 80/20 rule in Canada. The top 100 players represent about 20 per cent of that fragmented market not including the enterprise resellers and direct market resellers. When you exclude these large players and look at the SMB this group of about 100 represented 20 per cent of the market. We also look for those solution providers who add value and promote solutions. We are not looking at those that just push large volumes of hardware.

CDN Now: The new Government of Canada procurement direction what do you think it will mean to your business and the solution providers in the National Capital Region?

M.M.: It’s not clear right now where it will land. I know email and data centre will fall into the new direction by 2015. The fear is this will mean fewer resellers and Government may go direct with the vendor. We think either way we shall play and we’ll do business with all the resellers involved. That’s still going through distribution and if it’s direct to vendor; they will have a role with us helping vendors with logistics. If you stand back and look at the broad reseller channel it’s a healthy channel with more specialization. We are going to drive the depth of solutions. I have a bias on this, but I think the Government should deal with a broad set of resellers. That would be our advice to them. But, there is more politicking to go on.

CDN Now: Last time we spoke you were very optimistic about Apple in distribution. It’s been a year now do you still feel the same way?

M.M.: You asked me last year would I want to deal with Apple on smartphones and my answer is yes. But as I stand back and look at it its more about the whole mobility strategy. I would say eventually we need to move into smartphones and the distinction is the devices. They are converging and there will be many form factors available. Eventually we will deal with smartphones. We are investigating that with Bell and Rogers on data packages. It’s not a top priority right now. More work needs to be done on this especially with the activation process. I think that part we need to explore more with the carriers.

CDN Now: Will Synnex Canada have a cloud marketplace?

M.M.: We will adopt the same platform as the U.S. with CloudSolv and we are looking to do that sometime in 2013. When we launch I want to put a lot behind it and drive big volumes with a broad set of solutions. So if I had to pinpoint it… it will be a slow ramp up. The cloud is overhyped but if you look at the IT industry’s track record we are usually right. There is no question that the clod will be pervasive and we realized the industry would move the technology aspects to the background. User would have input devices and a big pipe. How fast do we get there? Right now it’s too difficult to predict.

CDN Now: Should there be any concern today with the buying patterns of small business customers going to retailers, the bring your own device (BYOD) trend, and the two wild cards in this mix that are the Apple store and the upcoming Microsoft store in Canada?

M.M.: That’s a good question. Let’s removed the Apple store for now because I think that’s different. We have always seen small business buy through retail and the traditional VAR channel in Canada they need to play there. We have seen some retailers develop small business promotions like Staples and Best Buy for Business. VARs need to develop compelling Web sites and use telemarketing and move down from there traditional base to capture this incremental opportunity. They can add more value than retailers. As for the new Microsoft store in Canada I think it will help in educating the market on cost effective small business solutions.

Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.