TechSelect to create a formal integrated services network

Vancouver – The 50 members of TechSelect, Tech Data Canada‘s exclusive solution provider club, will try to formalize a services network over the course of their three day conference, held here.

While TechSelect members have always partnered with each other in the past, those arrangements have been on a one-to-one basis. John Millar, a chief advisory council member of TechSelect, told CDN that all these collaborative efforts have been in on an informal basis.

One of the goals of this conference is to change that into a formal process so that TechSelect can be viewed as a nationwide IT services entity. To bring that vision together, Millar, who is also the president of Digital Boundary Group of London, Ont., said the members will have to agree or come to a consensus on rates and legal documentation.

“The services network component to TechSelect is vital and the group would like more services business sharing. With that, they would also like to share experiences on how to do things right,” Millar said.

Carlos Paz-Soldan, president of Tenet Computer Group of Toronto, is confident that the TechSelect members will approve a nationwide services network, especially on break-fix services. The key for him is how the group will come together on issues such as intellectual property ownership and who will own the customer in the end.

“We’re informal now and we want to formalize it with break-fix and emergency break-fix services, along with other common task services. There needs to be a structure in place,” he said.

Paz-Soldan added the informal process of services collaboration will continue because of the very nature of the industry, and that some services will always be delivered on an ad-hoc basis.

“We’re a route to market and the members can reach common ground on rates and well-understood services,” he said.

After achieving a TechSelect Integrated Services Network, Millar would then work towards branding the network as a nationwide services powerhouse. Millar would like to reinforce to the community at this conference that there are four stake holders: the member businesses, the vendor partners, Tech Data Canada, and TechSelect brand. “Where can the value of this brand take us in the market place as an entity with end customers?”

As an example of what branding can do for a group such as TechSelect, Millar cited Meritas, an integrated, non-profit alliance of more than 170 independent commercial law firms located in over 60 countries. Millar who practiced law previously in his career, said he was part of a small firm that joined a global organization called Meritas.

“Lawyers like to eat what they kill, but what happened was that American and Canadian lawyers had clients in many towns and were unable to service them. I can’t practice law in Michigan, but I can in Ontario,” Millar said.

Meritas started a referral service that would take care of clients. Agreements were put in place so that no clients were stolen.

Meritas is an example of what TechSelect can be by branding itself, Millar said.Millar added that Meritas had a code of conduct that he wants to share with the TechSelect members. Meritas members for example would respond to referred clients as if they were its best client. Also, Meritas would bring-in a third-party company for quality control to ensure that each member provided great service.

“I have this direct experience and I have to try to do this for TechSelect. I think it is a powerful tool,” Millar said.Paz-Soldan thinks branding TechSelect is a great idea. “VARs networking; that’s the value for us and establishing a brand, similar to the way Air Canada is part of the Star Alliance, is a good way to communicate with customers,” Paz-Soldan said.

Millar, who also worked for 15 years at Labat’s Brewing Co., says he understands the value of branding. While at this conference Millar will open the discussion to introduce the TechSelect name to the various communication vehicles.

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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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