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Westcon asks resellers to take a LEAP

Networking distributor unveils the LEAP centre for enhancing reseller differentiation

Westcon Group, Inc. is doing something very interesting in Europe. It has unveiled something called LEAP or Learn, Experience, Architect and Plan. This facility, based in Brussels, Belgium is dedicated strictly for resellers to sharpen their data centre skills to capitalize on the big market demand in this area.

Cisco is a big supporter of this LEAP centre as they have included next-generation technologies for its Unified Computing System platform. If you remember Tech Data Canada (Nasdaq: TECD) also built a technology excellence centre in their Mississauga, Ont.-based location called the Advanced Technology Solution Centre. In my opinion, this area has given resellers loyal to Tech Data a leg up as they can bring customers into a real working lab and show them more or less what they will be getting and the benefits that come with it.

The Westcon facility in Brussels will be the first of several new LEAP facilities. Next month, a LEAP Centre will open in Denver, and other LEAP Centres will follow in Sydney, Australia and Singapore. Will a LEAP facility come to Canada? Well, no word on that yet, but I expect Canada to be in the works. Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy, the long time Canadian leader of Westcon is now running North America and I would be surprised if she overlooked this region.

What Westcon wants to establish with the LEAP Centres is to offer resellers a major competitive differentiator in the market place. LEAP can help them with data centre engineering; it can replicate real-world scenarios; proof of concept; and provide insights on deploying virtualized servers.

The other thing that resellers can do at LEAP is test products from Cisco, NetApp, EMC, VMware, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and other vendors. Similar to the Tech Data Centre of Excellence resellers can access the centre either on-site or through remote access.

But what is key to making these centres work is to continually invest in them and spread them around to major markets around the world. And, yes the world does include Canada.

Ingram Micro Inc. (NYSE: IM) announced its Data Capture/POS Division will now market, sell and support the complete portfolio of Intermec (NYSE: IN) technologies in both Canada and the U.S.

Synnex takes the express

Synnex Corp. (NYSE: SNX) announced the launch of the mobile application for its e-commerce Web site, ECExpress.

ECExpress Mobile is developed for use on Android, iPhone, Blackberry and HP Palm Web OS mobile devices for both Canada and the U.S. ECExpress is the e-commerce Web site loyal Synnex resellers use to search for product pricing and availability, enter orders, as well as to check order and account status.

D&H goes digital

D&H Distributing announced it has created a new online tool to help guide its dealers, etailers, retailers and installers toward a more comprehensive sales strategy, just in time for the holiday season.The interactive “Digital Home Guide” leads customers through a connected home, which maps-out how the season’s latest and greatest electronics and accessories can be integrated in each different room, and how multiple products can be bundled or networked together to build more comprehensive sales. The downloadable guide depicts a family room, theatre room, home office, and teen bedroom. As readers click through each room, pop-up windows give details on the individual products that make up each room’s suite of devices.

Avnet in SuperSpeed

Avnet Electronics Marketing Americas (NYSE: AVT) announced the launch of a dedicated Web resource for design engineers focusing on the emerging technology of USB 3.0 or SuperSpeed USB. You can check it out at www.em.avnet.com/usb3.

Distribution appointments

Tech Data named Angela Beltz-Norrie the new vice president, Cisco Solutions Group. She is responsible for leading the company’s dedicated team of sales, marketing and technical professionals supporting all Cisco solutions available through Tech Data, including the Cisco Unified Computing System B- and C-Series servers.

Meanwhile at Synnex, they announced the election of Andrea M. Zulberti to the Company’s Board of Directors. Zulberti is retired from Barclays Global Investors (now Blackrock, Inc.), one of the world’s largest investment management and advisory companies, after a 14-year career in various executive positions, including Managing Director, Chief Financial Officer, Head of Global Risk Management and Head of Global Operations.