NEW ORLEANS- After seeing strong growth among Canadian members in its Varnex partner group, Synnex Corp. is still working to gain more members in Canada, while retaining its existing base with stronger content and better events.
“We’ve established long range goals and we’ve made great progress toward that in the last five or six months,” Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada (pictured), told CDN in an interview. At the time of its fall conference last November, Varnex had 32 Canadian members.
Now, that number is at about 60. “Ultimately, we see the optimal number around 80 or 90,” Martin said. He said the company is on track to achieve that number by the end of the year.
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During its spring conference this week, the company announced two smaller Varnex events held this summer in the U.S. Eventually, Martin said a similar event could come to Canada. “We really need to get to critical mass in terms of reseller membership and vendor membership in order to justify the Canada-only event.” That could come as early as next year, based on the success the company has seen with Canadian member recruitment, he said.
Retaining partners is also critical for Varnex’s success, but Martin said he thinks Synnex is offering good value so far. Some other distributors focus more on the larger players, so their networks are likely to become more saturated, he said. Varnex’s SMB focus is one reason it differentiates.
“I think also the key is about the partners that you let in and specifically, the partners you don’t let in,” said Tom Rand, an account manager with Cornwall, Ont.-based Jtec Distribution Inc., which has been involved with Varnex since the community was opened up to partners in Canada. “You’re not going to see national VARs coming in and just destroying it.”
Timing and content of the events has also been good, he added. “I think there’s a lot of high level access here that you’re not going to get any other time.”
Content that is Canadian-specific is also important, said Mike Fritzler, a partner at Regina’s Fact Computers, who attended Varnex’s conference this week specifically to meet more Canadian partners. Other industry events and partner conferences have fewer Canadians attend because the content is more focused on the U.S., he said.
Key focus areas for the coming year
Varnex University, the training courses Synnex is planning for members will also eventually come to Canada, according to Martin. “We still need to formulate our plans for Canada on that front,” he said. “I think it’s a great concept and we’ll look to Canadianize it.”
The same is true for the OneIT program, which is still in its early days in the U.S., but will eventually move north of the border.
Last year, the company also announced that its CloudSolv and RenewSolv platforms would be coming to Canada in the first quarter of 2012. The two are still in pilot here, held up by “manpower” issues, but should be deployed soon after some tweaking, said Bob Stegner, senior vice-president of marketing for North America at Synnex. “From an HP standpoint it’s running very well in the U.S.,” he said of CloudSolv, in which Hewlett-Packard Co. is a participating vendor. Stegner is confident the programs will see success here as well, especially given the eagerness of partners to participate.
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Synnex is also still committed to its move into more consumer-focused technology, especially smartphones. “The bigger vision here is that ultimately, we do want to fulfill everything from smartphones right up through servers and high-end storage products,” Martin said. With its recent acquisition of Mississauga, Ont.-based VisionMax Solutions Inc. mobility activation will also become a focus area, he said.
“We also want to expand our presence from a gaming perspective,” he added. “We think gaming consoles play an interesting role in the future in terms of the connected home,” an area in which Synnex wants to be a player.
Follow Harmeet Singh on Twitter: @HarmeetCDN