Tech Data introduced as Microsoft’s exclusive virtualization VAD

Greg MyersTech Data Canada has been introduced as Microsoft Canada’s exclusive value-added distribution partner for its virtualization product line.

Under the deal, Tech Data Canada will recruit a business development manager who will handle Microsoft’s virtualization business, and has identified 100 key midmarket-focused VARs across the country that it will initially target for a “partner enablement blitz.”

In this QuickVid video, Tech Data Canada marketing veep Greg Myers offers his thoughts on what the virtualization deal means to Tech Data, to its reseller partners, and the opportunity around the Microsoft virtualization and management stack.


More thoughts on the deal after the jump.

For Tech Data, the deal represents both incremental business and external validation for its work to morph from a “traditional” broadline distie into a hybrid of broadline and value-added distribution. The company has been on a “shift to value” around the world over the last year, and in Canada the shift has been particularly dramatic with the relaunch of its Advanced Technology Solution Centre.

For Microsoft Canada, the distribution deal means channel enablement and lots of it, around one of its growing opportunities – the virtualization and private cloud market. At its recent Worldwide Partner Conference in Los Angeles, Microsoft execs kept the focus on public cloud, its major focus over the last year, but also started to lay the groundwork for Microsoft’s private cloud strategy as a growth opportunity for the just-started fiscal year.

So what can partners expect? Here are some thoughts from Myers:

  • The deal is Canada-only, although Microsoft has sought RFPs globally. The process began in early May and by the end of June, Tech Data was confirmed as the go-to-distie.
  • The distributor has identified the 100 partners it’s going to target initially, but has not yet reached out to those prospects.
  • Myers suggested that in the first half of the fiscal year, the focus will be on education and enablement, helping candidate partners get up the certifications required for Silver and Gold levels. In the back-half of Microsoft’s fiscal year, the focus will shift to more heavily feature revenue generation – in all, Myers expects Tech Data and its partners to realize only one quarter of their Microsoft virtualization business revenues in the first half, with the lion’s share coming in the latter half of Microsoft’s fiscal year.
  • Myers said he expects to be able to sign up the majority of the 100 or so partners the company has been able to sign up, and expects to “find an develop and have 100 partners active in the marketplace” over the first year of the engagement. After that, they’ll look for expansion of “a fairly manageable number of partners we can work with.”
  • Tech Data will also feature Microsoft’s virtualization technologies heavily in its newly revamped ATSC, including building a Server Immersion Experience to go with the existing Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience it currently features.
  • The sweet spot for Tech Data with this deal is clearly in the midmarket, and by focusing on the midmarket, it sounds like Myers is hoping to minimize friction and conflict with VMware, also an important Tech Data vendor. “I think of [VMware] in the large account space and this is mid-market – there will be little intersection between the two brands,” Myers said. Adding that “the play is to appeal to resellers who are interested in developing a full solutions business for their mid-market customers, and I think that’s a pretty significant distinction.” And besides, Myers noted, distributors are used to representing multiple competitors in a given market, and one of the values distribution brings is in terms of market knowledge, which necessarily requires a background working with multiple vendors in a field.
  • Part of the plan is to offer support – financial, technical and sales – for the first sale of Microsoft’s virtualization and System Center technologies. “And then they’ll be well-positioned to win the second and third after that,” Myers said.