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Tech Data to increase focus on SMBs, managed services

The distie's new marketing boss is charting a path for growth in 2008

Tech Data has brought a new marketing chief on board, and this gives us an indication of where the distie plans to focus its efforts in the coming year.

Joe Quaglia, the new senior vice-president of U.S. marketing, will oversee the strategic direction of Tech Data’s product and services marketing, including the channel. After his appointment was announced, Quaglia said he would focus on two main areas: SMBs and managed services.

Tech Data’s SMB focus isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. The distie has already been quite vocal about this – as has every other vendor and distributor on the planet. But what Quaglia wants to do, he says, is combine that focus with sales and marketing, and do a better job of driving that focus with vendors.

Then there’s managed services – again, not a huge surprise here. Most disties are looking to offer some form of managed services platform to their customers. However, Quaglia wants to reassure VARs that Tech Data plans to remain channel-neutral by offering partners a choice.

This increased focus on SMBs and managed services will likely result in more channel programs, he said. Smart idea – because both areas are complex, and VARs have to be able to deliver solutions in a cost-effective manner.

Quaglia has been with Tech Data since 2006 on the sales side. He replaces Bob O’Malley, who left in September to become CEO of projector vendor InFocus.

Quaglia says he’s hoping to expand the distributor’s vendor relationships, with a focus on SMBs – and this is precisely what he brings to the table, as he has 20 years of experience in developing channels with smaller companies for the likes of CA, StorageNetworks and Atabok.

For Tech Data, it’s another strategic move. And it must be doing something right, since things are looking downright rosy for the distie. It brought in US$40.9 million in the third quarter – nearly quadrupling its quarterly profits over last year’s numbers for Q3. The Americas, including Canada, performed well. (Of course, last year’s profits were affected by the restructuring of its European operations.)

Tech Data CEO Bob Dutkowsky attributes this jump to the distie’s initiatives, such as an increased focus on the SMB market, as well as improving execution. Clearly, bringing a marketing guy on board who has ties to the SMB market through the channel is a smart move. (The distie also reorganized its sales team earlier this year.)

Whether this quarter will be so successful for Tech Data – or other disties, for that matter – remains to be seen, with the current Wall Street turmoil that could spill over into IT.

Regardless, Tech Data execs had to be happy when they sent out the press release on their latest financial results – since it’s hard not to attribute those numbers with a successful channel strategy.