Tech Data: There’s an app for that

Access TD

Tech Data's accessTD application for iPad

When your audience is chanting that they want your new product as you come on stage to introduce it, there’s a good chance you’ve tapped into the right opportunity.

That was exactly the situation for Phil Fillippeli, vice president of e-business for Tech Data, as he took to the stage at last week’s TechSelect Fall conference in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., to a chant of “We want apps” from the 500-plus members of the reseller community in attendance.

And apps they got, as the distributor introduced the company’s accessTD mobile apps, bringing resellers mobile access to ordering and quoting on iOS devices.

“Our goal for the mobile app is to make a useful app based on reseller feedback, especially from the TechSelect community,” Fillippeli said.

And it was based on that feedback, he said, that the decision was made to go with Apple’s mobile platform fist and foremost. Fillippelli said that there is as “overwhelming reseller demand … for iOS in general and the iPad in particular.” And looking around the audience for the TechSelect keynotes at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, it was easy to see the validity of that comment – a lot of members were tapping notes (and perhaps sneaking in the occasional e-mail) on Apple’s tablet devices.

On stage, Fillippeli walked resellers through the capabilities of the app, explaining that “a lot of the features are extensions of the Web site, but we tried to do it in a way that’s intuitive and easy to use.”

The app includes the ability to browse or search for Tech Data SKUs, and to process shopping carts either by checkout or by creating a quote, complete with the solution provider’s logo and information (and markup) if provided by the partner. Other capabilities include the ability to check stock on any SKU across the distributor’s warehouses, and to check on the shipment status of existing orders.

The accessTD application is available now free on the iTunes Store and runs natively on both iPhone/iPod Touch devices and on iPad tablets. Although it’s ready for download on the App Store, it’s not yet enabled for Canadian resellers – Tech Data said it expects to have the mobile app ready for Canadian VARs within a month.

And while initial feedback as in favor of iOS as the platform of choice, Fillippelli was actively soliciting attendees on what other platforms on which they’d like to see accessTD available.

“We want to grow this application,” he said. “This is a very strategic tool as part of our e-business arsenal.”

The company’s also unveiled an application called TDevents at the show, providing an online and interactive show guide for events like TechSelect that allow attendees to easily look up sessions at the event and put them on their calendars. That application is up and running on both iOS and Android, and is free.

AccessTD makes Tech Data the second of the major distributors to introduce an application-based extension of their e-commerce Web site for mobile devices. Rival Synnex has offered it MCexpress applications for about a year, as part of an overall push on offering outsourced mobile app development through its VAR community. Although Synnex’s mobile tools have been around since 2010, the company just launched its mobile app capabilities in Canada about a month ago.