Avnet Technology Solutions (ATS) held its annual IBM Partner Summit in San Antonio, TX., where more than 800 guests were in attendance this year. Company executives also took this time to announce a lofty multi-million dollar goal to reach $600M with its partners this quarter.
The value-added solutions distributor also used the conference to announce new vertical market practices under its SolutionsPath methodology around energy, retail, banking and mobility.
by Maxine Cheung of Computer Dealer News
Optimistic about growth and partner success
Fred Cuen, general manager and senior vice-president for ATS Americas, IBM Solutions Group, gave a keynote speech to conference attendees about the importance of partners becoming trusted solutions advisors.
“From a SolutionsPath standpoint our paths are very much connected to IBM’s Smarter Planet initiative and their direction,” Cuen said. “All partners need to continue to evolve their skillsets to compete and differentiate themselves in the market.”
With EnergyPath, RetailPath, FinancialPath and MobilityPath, Avnet is providing its partners with training and enablement resources so they can go to market in a more focused fashion.
A message from the ATS Americas president
Jeff Bawol, president of ATS Americas, didn’t deliver a keynote speech at the conference, however he did speak with CDN about the importance of the new vertical market and solutions-oriented offerings.
“As we’ve evolved to become a solutions distributor now, we’re convinced the end-user wants to have answers to their business problems,” he said. “They don’t want to just buy products and point stuff. We want to help partners and suppliers sell more of their items by better preparing partners to have a business conversation with their customers. It’s about the how and the why questions instead of the what, which is the product. It’s about getting to the root of the business problem and these questions scale across all partners, solutions and vertical markets.”
Opportunities in the cloud and analytics
IBM executives who were in attendance at the conference also outlined the company’s focus areas for the next five years, which include analytics, the cloud, Smarter Planet and software.
Mike Rhodin, senior vice-president for IBM’s Software Solutions Group, said the company sees analytics becoming a $67B opportunity, cloud as a $67B opportunity and Smarter Planet as a $66B opportunity by 2015. He also said the company expects software to contribute to almost half of IBM’s overall profits within the next five years.
Rich Hume, IBM sales and distribution, global business partners and mid-market general manager for global business partners, encouraged partners to be active in the company’s Smarter Planet initiative to help drive more business and relationships.
“What Smarter Planet means for partners is higher-value discussions, a focus on clients’ businesses beyond their IT issues, the ability to act as true consultants and as a way to extend value and competitive advantage to drive more business,” Hume said.
Sharing SolutionsPath University grad successes
IBM’s Dan Pelino, the general manager for sales and distribution, public sector, global healthcare and life sciences industry, also took to the stage to share some of the successes of SolutionsPath University graduates.
“HealthPath University grads achieved 40 per cent year over year Q1 growth and Avnet’s IBM healthcare business grew 12.9 per cent year over year for the first quarter,” Pelino said. “GovPath University grads achieved 30 per cent growth year over year and Avnet’s IBM public sector business grew 22 per cent year over year.”
To further help and enable its business partners, Pelino said the channel can take advantage of utilizing IBM’s healthcare and life sciences global team, Avnet’s consulting team, IBM’s Innovation Centres, cooperative selling relationships, and more.
IBM launches new Cloud Computing Lab
To help better prepare its partners for the cloud and future opportunities in this space, IBM announced a new Cloud Computing Lab in the United Kingdom for partners around the world.
The new lab is the first of its kind for the company and is designed to help IBM business partners gain the sales and marketing skills they need to successfully compete in this fast-changing environment.
Partners can access the lab from any of IBM’s network of 38 Innovation Centres around the world and they can also work virtually with company experts to build go-to-market plans. The company also has plans to open more labs like this in the future in other areas of the world.
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