Tech Data Canada targets SMBs, revamps storage and server business

Tech Data Canada (NASDAQ: TECD) used its recent annual vendor summit to announce a new SMB marketing program that will change the way the distributor approaches the SMB market, as well as a revamping and rebranding of its storage and server business to accommodate trends around virtualization and cloud computing.

On the SMB side, Tech Data introduced vendors to its Solutions for SMB program, which will launch in 2010 with those vendors that opt-in. Greg Myers, vice-president, sales and marketing for Tech Data Canada, said the program fundamentally changes the distributor’s approach in marketing to the SMB.

While in the past they took a channel-centric approach, assuming that most small resellers sell to SMBs, Myers said they’re taking a product-centric approach, highlighting the products that vendors have specifically designed to meet the needs of the SMB market.

“If you talk to Cisco Systems, Microsoft Corp. or Hewlett-Packard, most vendors have engineered specific products for SMB users in the marketplace,” said Myers.

The program will run for all of 2010 with a unique campaign each quarter, giving participating vendors an opportunity to showcase products designed for SMB end-users, and will include communications via direct mail, e-mail, and Tech Data’s web site.

Additionally, Myers said the resellers that are most successful with these products in their local markets will be selected for the creation of an end-user marketing campaign by Tech Data Canada to help them accelerate their results.

Introducing Advanced Infrastructure Solutions

On the more enterprise-focused side, Tech Data Canada also announced it has reorganized its Storage and Server business unit (AIS), rebranding it as its Advanced Infrastructure Solutions division.

“I would describe this as an evolutionary change really, and one that’s consistent with Tech Data’s branding initiatives globally,” said Myers.

There was a time, said Myers, when Tech Data sold servers alongside PCs, but three years ago it moved servers from systems and paired it with storage. Now, reflecting new trends round virtualization and cloud computing, the distributor is moving its Cisco and VMware business into this rebranded division. Myers said it’s a good fit, particularly with Cisco’s move into unified communications.

He added there’s a lot of change underway in this market segment.

“There’s a shift towards build-to-order and configure-to-order, and a lot of server technology is now integrated together custom-built and delivered to the end-user on behalf of our resellers,” said Myers. “By creating AIS and bringing all these virtualization, routing and switching technologies together into one group we’ll be able to help deliver more customized solutions to the marketplace.”

Traditionally the realm of value-added distributors, Myers said he sees broad liners such as Tech Data getting more into the business of delivering integrated customized solutions to end-users for their resellers.

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Jeff Jedras
Jeff Jedras
A veteran technology and business journalist, Jeff Jedras began his career in technology journalism in the late 1990s, covering the booming (and later busting) Ottawa technology sector for Silicon Valley North and the Ottawa Business Journal, as well as everything from municipal politics to real estate. He later covered the technology scene in Vancouver before joining IT World Canada in Toronto in 2005, covering enterprise IT for ComputerWorld Canada. He would go on to cover the channel as an assistant editor with CDN. His writing has appeared in the Vancouver Sun, the Ottawa Citizen and a wide range of industry trade publications.

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