Tech Data invests in future

In tough times, some businesses are only concerned with paying next month’s bills – and that’s understandable. But it pays to look ahead, to invest in the future, because when the economy eventually turns around, it’s those who’ve prepared for it that will benefit most.

Recessions are a good time for investment – and if you don’t have the money to invest, perhaps you have more time to invest in researching and educating yourself on future opportunities. Take Tech Data Canada’s Advanced Technology Solution Centre, which the distie re-launched on April 30 at its Mississauga headquarters.

The centre, which has only been open for about 18 months, just received a $300,000 makeover. Why? Tech Data has updated the centre based on the latest technology trends. The centre, which was primarily based on Cisco (Nasdaq: CSCO) solutions, will now feature an additional 125 advanced technology solutions targeted at SMB customers in a multi-vendor environment. While Cisco technologies are still a primary focus, the centre will also include solutions from other vendors, which means more opportunities for solution providers.

Perhaps the biggest change is a focus on virtualization, based on VMware (Nasdaq: VMW) solutions – an area that seems relatively recession-proof. But the centre will also include a whole new lineup of advanced technologies, including unified communications, digital signage, RFID asset tagging, wireless solutions and POS systems. Down the road, it may also include WebEx and Telepresence solutions from Cisco.

Tech Data is also using the centre as a means to find partners in the physical security space – another area that seems relatively recession-proof. It’s also an area where there’s a need for more players (again, a market that may warrant research and education).

When you’re trying to sell prospective customers on a new technology, it’s important to show them how it actually works – particularly with SMB customers who may not entirely understand what benefit a technology will bring to their business until they see it in action. Tech Data says of previous visits to the centre, 50 to 60 per cent resulted in deals – in some cases, right then and there.

The centre is not only a differentiator for Tech Data, but also for its partners. Solution providers can set up demos for their customers, including personalized demos for their specific requirements. But they can also educate themselves (and their salesforce) on new technologies, so they’re better prepared for future opportunities.

It comes back to the future. Perhaps customers aren’t investing in new technologies right now, if their budgets have been frozen or slashed.

But it doesn’t hurt to start planting seeds – to show them where they could move forward, when the time is right, to transform their business. And that’s how solution providers can use this recession wisely.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Vawn Himmelsbach
Vawn Himmelsbach
Is a Toronto-based journalist and regular contributor to IT World Canada's publications.

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