Quebec City – People in the IT channel ask me this question all the time. What’s the difference between Tech Data’s TechSelect and Ingram Micro’s VentureTech Network? And since last year you can also include Synnex’s Varnex program.
Before I answer that question let me make something very clear up front. I love them all. All three are doing a great job at engaging and improving solution providers business in Canada and the U.S. All three have a great cross-section of solution providers who make up their membership. And, most importantly all three have successfully fostered partner-to-partner relationships that have solved countless customer problems over the years.
But here is the difference: TechSelect has a more Canadian feel to it than the other two. Case in point it hosted its own conference in historic Quebec City. More than 40 top solution providers attended and the topics of discussion were Canadian in scope. What this conference was able to achieve was remove a layer in the knowledge-capture process that all solution providers have to do when attending conferences in the U.S.
With Ingram’s VTN, which concluded its conference last month in Chicago, they too drive the Canadian agenda but from the inside. Top VTN leaders come from Canadian solution providers so they are able to ensure the programs and benefits developed works for them and others in Canada. They also hold several Canadian only chapter meetings across the country.
The differences are subtle but from my point of view it’s the only thing that differentiates the two groups except for size.
Varnex is just two years into its program life and while they are off to an excellent start I am unable to draw any conclusions.
A couple of notable news items from the TechSelect conference: Annual net sales passed $24 billion. Rick Reid said the results were very good considering the recession.
Reid also said that the StreamOne licensing tool is the largest technology development investment since he’s been at the distributor, which goes back to mid 1990s.
TechSelect was able to raise $10,000 for the Hospital for Sick Children.
Currently TechSelect has 55 members and would like to reach 60 to 65 by next year. For 2011, the group introduced three new members Industries Bang and MicroLogic of Quebec and Servall Canada of Vaughan, Ont. They unfortunately lost CPU Inc.
TechSelect also launched a series called Tech Talk that focused on cloud computing, social business and managed services.
Ingram Micro executives and channel partners are in Nashville this week for the 2011 Data Capture/POS Invitational.
The show is called “Business in Harmony,” and will focus on data capture, digital signage, physical security, point-of-sale and mobility. This year’s show will be highlighted by cloud computing best practicies along with new marketing, sales and services methodologies.
Avnet and the solid state market
Avnet has long pushed the solid state disk drive market and they are furthering this with a North American seminar series that starts in Boston on May 10th. The series will feature SSD’s biggest advocate Jim Handy, the director of Objective Analysis. Other stops are Minnesota, San Jose, and Irvine, Calif. While all four cities are in North America I think it’s a stretch from Avnet to call this a North American series with no dates in Canada or Mexico for that matter.
Arrow gives update on Japan
Last March, Japan experienced a 9.0-magnitude earthquake. Arrow has been monitoring the situation from its offices in the U.S. The distributor has said that at this point in time, the company has received information that all staff in the affected regions are confirmed safe. Arrow said it will continue to take safety precautions, such as inspecting facilities and buildings in the region.
Arrow will also contact suppliers located in the region to gauge any impact to their businesses. Arrow has already put contingency plans in place in the event that any of its suppliers experienced disruptions to their business.