Synnex takes the hybrid approach

SAN DIEGO, CALIF. – In distribution it’s important to know your role. For instance you can be a broadline distributor and excel in the supply chain. Or you can be a value added distributor where you provide expertise along with the products you need to build a solution. You can even be a specialty distributor where you focus on just a few product lines.

For Synnex throughout their history they have been known as a broadline distributor. But that has changed, according to Mitchell Martin the president of Synnex Canada.

Martin told CDN that Synnex is a hybrid distributor where they can take the best parts of the broadline world and match that up with best parts of value-added distribution.

He recently sat down with CDN at the VARnex Fall Conference to explain the new hybrid strategy along with several other topics. The following is an edited transcript.

CDN Now: Has Synnex shifted away from broadline distribution in Canada and the U.S.?

Mitchell Martin: Absolutely! When we talk about technology solutions we’re talking about promoting the value we add. We compete with speciality solutions distributors and it’s become a pretty big business on that front. We still have more work to do. In the last year we brought in ConvergeSolv, VisionSolv for Pro AV, physical security and digital signage. We are also going to have CloudSolv, StoreSolv for POS and data capture and we already have PrintSolv. We are about to officially launch MobileSolv and ServiceSolv too. We are pretty well aligned with the U.S. on these core solutions and value plays.

As for hybrid, that’s what it is. We can be that low cost supply chain in the commodities market, but at the same time layer on those value added resources and bring the best of both worlds together. This makes us compete with that specialty distributor but with the efficiency of a big player.

CDN Now: How challenging is to move from volume to the value model?

M.M.: It’s challenging to get in front of it. We made the investment and we worked closely with the vendors. We leaned on them to make the investment as well but you reach a point where you have enough volume where it does become easier. The first four Solv programs we focused on we added resources to it and then it scaled. The margin profile was different and we knew we could make that investment. But initially it can be challenging.

CDN Now: Microsoft is a vital vendor partner not just for you but for everyone. They have a new president now in Canada in Janet Kennedy. How crucial is for you and the network of resellers you support to have a stable leader at Microsoft Canada?

M.M.: They would be the first to say they lost some ground in Canada with the lack of consistency. Together I think we are all concerned, but hopefully at this point they can get back to where they were. We work closely with Microsoft Canada and they are vital to the channel.

CDN Now: Microsoft is also transitioning to a devices and services strategy. From your viewpoint what’s the reaction been in the channel?

M.M.: They have even commented that Canada is behind other countries in the adoption of the cloud specifically with Office 365. It’s critical that we work well together to promote the adoption of the cloud and utility computing. They are here at the show with a strong presence. Microsoft has many sessions on Office 365 and the broader implementation of the cloud through CloudSolv. I encourage resellers to adopt and even struggle with Office 365. It’s a great lesson on utility computing. It’s the future and we want to see the reseller be more aggressive with this.

CDN Now: The cloud is changing the go-to-market strategies of the channel. How will you align with those new strategies?

M.M.: It really sits as a horizontal motion with all the solutions we promote. We see emerging cloud strategies in all the solutions we promote. The CloudSolv marketplace took aggressive steps in all of those offerings and it cut across all solution areas.

CDN Now: Where are you at with the VARnex community in Canada?

M.M.: Today we are at 86 members. That’s 20 more than a year ago. I am very pleased and we stated that our focus was going to be on partners who are going to engage in our programs. There will still be some fine tuning as we offer more of those U.S. solutions. We would need to pick up our game and work with those individual resellers between venues and figure out who is capable and willing. With VARnex in Canada the number of members will always be a size that is manageable; between 80 to 100 with an emphasis on quality and on SMB.

CDN Now: Will VARnex have a Canadian show soon?

M.M.: That is the goal for 2014. We have done a pilot for a regional event in the Greater Toronto Area. We want to create those interactions with members, Synnex and the vendors.

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

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