Synnex Canada finds its future in its Solvs

Synnex Canada is refocusing itself with increased attention to its "Solvs" -- solutions-centric practice areas around topics like cloud and managed print.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

More than ever before, Synnex Canada is going to be defined going forward by its solutions-oriented offerings, dubbed “the Solvs” by the distributor. These offerings – CloudSolv, ConvergSolv, ServiceSolv, PrintSolv and others, represent a packaging of high-value and high-margin solutions for the company’s solution provider customers, and represents a continuation of the trend of the “traditional” broadline distributors keeping their wide product offerings, but focusing on more value-added touches for growth.

And Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada, said he sees that growth happening. In an overall market that is about flat for the distributor this year, the area around its Solv practices are growing at about 30 per cent year-over-year.

“I don’t see the market getting any better than it is right now. We’re not counting on an improving market, I think we’ll see flat. But emerging technologies is where all the growth is,” Martin said. “Our job is to educate resellers in terms of selling the benefits of cloud and emerging technologies. Let’s move them off the old market, and get them to commit to a direction and start growing again.”

Even the PC business, buoyed by the Windows XP end-of-life earlier this year which led to a very strong first half and into Q3, may well be cooling, Martin said, in the final quarter of this year. That, he said, may pull the overall Canadian market into negative territory as the year closes. But as the emerging technologies practices show, there are pockets of growth to be enjoyed – it’s just that solution providers have to be focused.

“Our message to the reseller community is ‘Let us help hitch your wagon to these new solutions, don’t rely on traditional revenue streams that are at best flat and in fact shrinking over time,” Martin said.

The challenge, he said, is that many times you need “multiple exposures” to really get the idea of the Solvs over with solution providers who haven’t started to transform their businesses. For that reason, the distributor is doing a lot of two-headed, or even three-headed along with a vendor partner, sales calls to customers.

“We want to help them along, then they can do it on their own – make sure they feel comfortable to make the investments to do that,” he said.

Of course, for solution providers that are a little further along in their own transformation, the distributor takes a little less hands-on approach, and is ready to “help them with incremental support so they don’t have to do it themselves as they scale.”

The company has been ramping up staffing around these high growth areas – with ServiceSolv alone having more than 100 resources worldwide attached to it. Martin said that includes senior resources, up to and including the director level, here in Canada, backed up with shared resources in both the U.S. and the Philippines.

That focus on emerging technologies is not to say that the distributor is forsaking its traditional base in products distribution. Martin said the company is making serious investments there on multiple fronts. He said there are a few customer segments “I’m wishing to do better with,” and those areas, including DMRs and SMB resellers, will see more investment in 2015. On the DRM side, Martin said he sees a great opportunity to drive the Solv practices into those areas, and on the SMB side, the distributor has added 20 reps this year to target smaller solution providers.

“There’s been a void at the small business level,” Martin said “They tend to buy like consumers, and with Microsoft ending support for Windows Server 2003, one of their keys is to penetrate users one through five in those small environments, but there just isn’t a good channel for that. We’re going to partner together and really try to encourage smaller resellers to go after small business with appropriate technology solutions.”

On the enterprise side, the company has just added the former IBM system x series, recently acquired by Lenovo. This is an area where the Solvs are already mostly established, especially those dealing with enterprise hot buttons including cloud and converged systems.

In the U.S., Synnex has recently signed Dell to a distribution deal. Will that be coming to Canada anytime soon? The recent Varnex conference in Las Vegas offered mixed clues there. On one hand, Bob Stegner, senior vice president of North American marketing for Synnex, devoted some time in his main stage presentation to cajoling Frank Vitagliano and other Dell channel executives to extend the relationship to Canada, suggesting perhaps that something is indeed in the works. But Martin struck a more cautious tone, saying that both sides are evaluating the possibility, and acknowledging that Dell is concerned with bringing too many distributors on board in a smaller market like Canada in too short a time.

“We’ll continue to have discussions, but we have no firm plans,” Martin said.