Avnet Canada chief on SolutionsPaths, Bell acquisition [Video]

It’s been a busy year for Avnet Technology Solutions in Canada, introducing SolutionsPath Advisor, adding four new fields to its SolutionsPath training and enablement kits, and integrating fellow distributor Bell Microproducts.

Meanwhile, Brian Aebig, general manager for Canada at ATS, reports a solid end to 2010 and a strong start to its fiscal 2011 that should see the distributor on track for double-digit growth.

ChannelBuzz.ca sat down with Aebig at the distributor’s IBM Partner Summit last week in San Antonio, Tex. to discuss these issues and more. Here’s what he had to say.


ChannelBuzz.ca also chatted with Aebig about a range of other topics. Here are some highlights:

  • Although he acknowledged the new FinancialPath offering will likely need some customization, Aebig said he was “optimistic” that the distributor will be able to get Canadian partners into the first run of SolutionsPath University courses for the programs early next year. Development of specific Canadian content will wait until the distributor gauges the level of interest for those unique Canadian portions.
  • Although the quest continues towards what Avnet has branded “solutions distribution,” Aebig was clear that it’s not always the best fit for every reseller, and for those who don’t want to drill deep on one or more of the focus areas, he said Avnet will function in “value distribution” mode.
  • Manufacturers are buying into the solutions distribution message at a deeper level, he reported, making it easier for Avnet to stretch what it’s offering to both its vendor partners and its resellers. “The conversations are getting easier, and we have a lot of proof points now,” he said.
  • Biggest opportunities for growth for Avnet in Canada include storage. It’s “a very significant piece of our overall business,” Aebig said, but there’s still room for growth. Aebig expects that growth to be powered by the mobility play. “We’ll see a storage boost, a security boost – mobility will be a key growth factor going forward,” he said.
  • Consolidation and change are positive forces for the distributor. In fact, Aebig said new solution provider organizations are often the biggest consumers of its SolutionsPath methodologies and rely on the distributor more heavily and more often to provide additional services.
  • Avnet continues to move from manufacturer-oriented conversations with its resellers to making the end users’ business needs top-of-mind. “I have always said that Avnet is at its best when we think like a VAR and act like a distributor,” Aebig said.
  • Aebig sees services growing greatly and managed services in particular growing at a substantial rate. But plans to more actively support managed services through Avnet sound like they’re still at a preliminary level – Aebig describes it as “a comparing of notes” with managed services players.