The Dell-SYNNEX deal in Canada: when’s it happening?

The long-anticipated arrival of Dell as a SYNNEX partner in Canada assumed more urgency after Dell announced an attractive new program for Varnex members Tuesday. ChannelBuzz has the skinny on when it’s likely to happen.

Frank Vitagliano Dell

Frank Vitagliano, Vice President, WorldWide Channel Strategy and Programs at Dell

As most readers of ChannelBuzz will know, Dell made a return to distribution in North America in 2014. Previously, the PartnerDirect program had been working direct with partners here, following an earlier abortive foray into distribution earlier in Dell’s move to a channel strategy. In Canada, Dell began to work with Ingram Micro, Tech Data and D&H, and last fall, they began working with SYNNEX in the United States. SYNNEX in Canada, however, remained a Dell-free zone. At the time, Dell channel chief Cheryl Cook explained the issue in Canada was concerns about overdistribution, given that the Canadian market is only one-tenth the size of the United States.

Flash forward six months to today, when the issue of Dell working with SYNNEX in Canada became more of a hot button issue. This follows Tuesday’s announcement by Frank Vitagliano, Vice President, WorldWide Channel Strategy and Programs at Dell, that Dell is introducing an attractive program for Varnex members through which they will have all the benefits of the Dell Preferred Partner tier in the PartnerDirect program – the middle of its three tiers – for a six month period. The question of when Dell will become a SYNNEX partner in Canada thus assumes much more urgency.

ChannelBuzz spoke with both Vitagliano and SYNNEX Canada President Mitchell Martin on the topic, and the answer remains – it IS coming, at some point, but some things still need to be ironed out, and partners should not expect anything for at least a quarter.

“We are still having discussions with SYNNEX in Canada about this,” Vitagliano said. “They absolutely have really good capabilities, including robust offerings in the midmarket space which we find very interesting. We had a Dell team up there six weeks ago with Mitchell Martin and his team and we went through an overall plan about this – how we could supplement each other.”

Vitagliano said that the overdistribution concern remains an issue in these sense that both Dell and SYNNEX want to make sure the deal is designed right to avoid it.

“We always are concerned with overdistribution,” he said. “We worry about that because nobody makes any money. We want profitable long-term sustaining relationships. We are confident that in this situation we can have that – but we are concerned about is making sure we are doing it and launching it in the right way. When you haven’t been in distribution with a particular company [in a specific geo], there are start-up things you need to work on. We are still working on that.”

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

SYNNEX’s Mitchell Martin agreed that it is a question of when, and not if.

“It’s just a matter of time,” he said. “We have publicly announced we will engage in Canada. The timeline is dependent on Dell from a resource standpoint. They have asked for some time to put resources in place. I think it’s coming relatively soon.”

Vitagliano agreed it will be soon, but not until the summer at least.

“We expect to continue the discussions over the next quarter or so and figure out what we will do next,” he said.

Canadian Varnex members need not fret that the delay will cause them to miss out on the Preferred Partner offer from Dell

“Once SYNNEX officially becomes a Dell partner in Canada, then Canadian Varnex partners will be able to sign up under the same conditions as American partners can now,” Keith Jalbert, Vice President, Commercial Sales, at SYNNEX Canada, told ChannelBuzz. That means they will likely have 30 days to enroll once the Dell-SYNNEX relationship in Canada goes live.