Avnet sets course for Destination: Analytics

Fred Cuen

Avnet IBM Solutions group chief Fred Cuen.

Avnet Technology Solutions’ IBM Solutions Group is aiming to educate solution providers about the opportunity that exists in business analytics with the recent launch of a program it calls “Destination: Analytics.”

Open to Avnet’s solution provider customers in Canada and the U.S., the program offers training, marketing and enablement to partners looking to build their businesses around IBM’s analytics offerings.

“This is a $16 billion opportunity, a huge opportunity for the channel,” said Fred Cuen, senior vice president and general manager of the IBM Solutions Group at ATS.

And considering the place for analytics on IBM’s much-talked-about “2015” roadmap and the hype it’s getting from the highest places at IBM – outgoing CEO Sam Palmisano earlier this year called it the single biggest opportunity for IBM and its partners – it’s no surprise that there’s partner interest.

The first major component of Destination: Analytics is building up a Centre of Excellence around the IBM analytics business. That Centre of Excellence will include resources at Avnet to “help reseller accelerate and decrease the costs and risks of getting into the space,” said Dan Bridenbaugh, director of IBM software solutions at Avnet. “It’s all about whiteboard, building out proofs of concept – anything that increases speed to market.”

The second component is correlating analytics capabilities to specific industry concerns and issues – for example compliance-related issues in healthcare. By better identifying industry-specific pain points, Bridenbaugh said, solution providers will be able to ramp up their analytics business even more quickly.

And finally, Avnet has put in place a dedicated group of field sales resources and solution architect resources to help solution providers build out their plans and execute them.

“We help them map out what particular partners need, what marketing support they need, the education, the technical per-sales and post-sales, and helping them with building custom plans,” Bridenbaugh said.

Cuen said analytics shines as a channel opportunity because it’s “all very services driven,” and led by business process and pain as opposed to technology products. He said the program would be ideal for a variety of infrastructure VARs, SIs and even ISVs with a variety of ranges of ability and skillsets in analytics.

“The biggest key is identifying what [the partner] really wants to do, what they really want to invest,” he said. “We’ll help them understand what they want to do and then marry that with our capabilities.”

Bridenbaugh said the most likely candidates for the program are those who have already built business around adjacent products, such as data governance and data cleansing. It’s also a very vertical solution – with the aforementioned healthcare opportunity and the finance industry particularly hot.

While those partners will be able to ramp up very quickly, there’s a whole next layer of partners who may take a little bit longer to get up to speed, but for whom the opportunity is no less real.

So for a distributor that has a Path for everything, why not AnalyticsPath in keeping with its SolutionsPath methodology and programs? According to Cuen, there’s a lot of the SolutionsPath approach in Destination: Analytics. But not the name, because the SolutionsPath practices focus on presenting vendor-neutral solutions education and information. So the methodology remains the same, but Destination: Analytics is much more closely linked to Big Blue and its analytics offerings.

However, Cuen suggested that analytics-related elements would be finding their way into the material for various SolutionsPath areas, most notably those dedicated to vertical markets.