Pick your Path: Avnet adds a quartet of new SolutionsPaths

Which path to choose...SAN ANTONIO, TEX. – Avnet Technology Solutions Tuesday added four new paths to its collection of SolutionsPath training and enablement methodologies, unveiling new MobilityPath, EnergyPath, FinancialPath and RetailPath practices.

Announcing the new four-pack Tuesday at the distributor’s 2010 IBM Partner Summit here, Tony Vottima, senior vice president of solutions marketing and development for the Americas at ATS, called rolling out the four programs at once “a new record” and said the new practices would roll out using the same tools and style as its existing SolutionsPath offerings, including a University element, Playbooks to help identify top opportunities and its SolutionsPath Advisor program.

“It’s unheard of for distribution to invest this much money in a market ahead of any sales,” Vottima said. “Our skin is in the game.”

The new practices join existing SolutionsPaths around virtualization, security, storage and networking, as well as healthcare- and government-focused vertical tracks.

The broadest of the new plays is the sole technology-focused offering, MobilityPath. Vottima said that mobility represents one third of the $1.2 trillion (U.S.) in IT spending that’s forecasted, and that together with unified communications, is “setting the pace for transformation” in technology. The distributor has offered mobility solutions in the past, but now it’s taking a different perspective – the focus with MobilityPath is on connecting business applications in a mobile world.

“It’s about taking data centre-based apps and mobilizing them,” Vottima said, adding that “mobility was that missing link” in the distributor’s overall data centre play.

Vottima described all three of the new vertical focuses as big, but in different ways.

  • Energy is a $20 billion (U.S.) global IT spend, he said, and one that is replacing its old infrastructure with new, largely under the Smart Grid concept. It’s a market in which Avnet has been growing “without having a really solid understanding” of the field, something that changes with the EnergyPath launch.
  • Retailers need to understand “what their consumers want,” and are “a huge analytics opportunity” for solution providers, with their need to deal with a competitive and seasonal market. It’s also a mobility play, as more and more retailers look for ways to take advantage of the plethora of mobile devices in their shoppers’ hands.
  • The financial market is a $60 billion (U.S.) IT spend, and one that’s not as direct as many assume – beyond the 60 or so direct-dealing financial institutions in the U.S., there are more than 80,000 smaller ones “looking for a channel that understands them and the regulations they face,” Vottima said. “This is one of the biggest opportunities we have.”

Vottima said all four of the new SolutionsPaths are being launched North America-wide, and that the distributor’s Canadian team is working on “tweaking” the programs’ training and enablement efforts where necessary for the Canadian market, particularly in the three vertical programs.

The distributor plans to have the programs fully rolled out and begin offering its training courses on the new fields by the end of the calendar year. It’s following the same methods that have worked for its existing SolutionsPath offerings.

“We started with HealthPath five years ago, so we’ve got a lot of best practices in place to leverage – we know what works and what doesn’t,” Vottima said.