Avnet Combines Services in New ATS Unit

Avnet Technology Solutions president Phil Gallagher

Avnet Technology Solutions president Phil Gallagher

Avnet Inc.’s evolution from traditional technology distributor to complete IT solutions and services provider continues with today’s unveiling of Avnet Services, a new segment within the company’s rapidly growing Avnet Technology Solutions unit.

The launch is the logical culmination of a 15-month targeted acquisition spree that has seen ATS expand its services capacity and capabilities, particularly in solutions sets built around IBM Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co. technologies.

While the competitive possibilities of combining Avnet’s services under the ATS umbrella might give some partners pause, Avnet officials have been quick to point out that the channel is the focus – and the main beneficiary – of the services restructuring.

The unified services strategy focused on software, lifecycle and education will complement partners’ offerings and help them increase sales through expanded capacity, reach and scale, said Avnet officials in Phoenix, Ariz.

“Avnet Services is designed to help partners successfully capitalize on this immense opportunity worldwide by leveraging our ecosystem and IT services portfolio in partnership with world-class technology providers,” said Avnet SVP Phil Gallagher, who also serves as global president of ATS. “Our goal is to build a unified, globally-aligned services business with common processes and tools that will allow us to deliver multiple lines of services from multiple business units for channel partners efficiently and effectively.”

Avnet Services will operate in parallel with ATS’s product business model, and will come out of the gate with services in three areas:

  • Software Services for infrastructure and application management; business, commerce and analytics; and cloud enablement
  • Lifecycle Services including integration, installation and implementation; call center; field/depot repair; spare parts logistics; and end-of-life options such as responsible recycling
  • Education Services with vendor-accredited training; multilingual, mixed modality education; and a scalable training infrastructure

The Avnet Services global team will be led by SVP Bill Wentworth, who most recently held the same title in Avnet Integrated, the unit responsible for managing services capabilities of acquired businesses. Reporting to Wentworth will be the regional Avnet Services chiefs including ATS SVP Tony Vottima for the Americas and Christian Magirus in EMEA.

“This alignment will enhance project success and return on investment for customer deployments throughout the IT solutions lifecycle, creating more stickiness for our partners and suppliers,” said Wentworth. “It will also extend our partners’ reach and resources with reliable service delivery offerings for their non-core service needs.”

Avnet Services’ unveiling certainly comes at a fortuitous time in the market. IDC estimates spending on IT services will balloon to $674.9 billion this year, with a four-year CAGR of 4 percent going forward.

It’s that calculus that has led Avnet to beef up ATS’ services capacity and capabilities through acquisition, particularly in the past 15 months with the stated goal of augmenting partner services efforts in a variety of disciplines.

In January the distributor snapped up TSSLink Inc., an 8-year-old San Jose, Calif.-based consulting, tech support and IT outsourcing firm specializing in storage and virtualization solutions with additional capabilities in IT audit and compliance, disaster recovery and business continuity planning.

Avnet made five similar buys in the past year, bolstering ATS’ profile and the portfolio. In November 2012, the company bought Genilogix LLC, a Pittsburgh-based  software and services provider and one of only 11 Hewlett-Packard Co. Software Elite Enhanced Partners. The acquisition came three months after Avnet bought Sewickley, Pa.-based Pepperweed Consulting, a 16-year-old HP Software Elite Partner that focuses on partnering with other HP resellers to deploy and manage systems built around HP IT Performance Suite, Converged Cloud and Insight software.

“To win new business in today’s high-growth technology and vertical markets, the channel needs to add a full suite of hardware, software and services offerings to their portfolio,” said Ken Archer, Americas vice president for Channels and Alliances at HP Technology Services, addressing the distributor’s most recent services move. “Avnet Services will enable HP’s channel partners to offer comprehensive, integrated solutions that will allow them to deliver greater value to their customers and capitalize on new business opportunities related to analytics, big data, cloud computing, and converged infrastructure.”

Even as it was beefing up its HP chops, Avnet was rounding out its IBM services capabilities. Last fall, Avnet acquired BrightStar Partners Inc. and its associated software-development arm, BSP Software LLC. BrightStar, of Rolling Meadows, Ill., is an IBM Premier Business Partner, IBM Value Added Reseller and IBM Independent Software Vendor focused on business analytics for business intelligence, financial performance management, enterprise score-carding and data warehousing. The software unit provides specific tools that extend the functionality of IBM Cognos software.

In March of last year, Avnet purchased Ascendant Technology Inc., of Austin, Texas, a $90 million-a-year software integrator and consultancy that developed its own methodologies in support of IBM applications and tools. The deal added 500 technical and business professionals to the Avnet Technology Solutions unit.

Avnet also acquired asset-disposal specialist Canvas Systems in January 2012. The Norcross, Ga., equipment lifecycle management and refurbished equipment sales firm was folded into Avnet Technology Solutions.