Value-added Solv programs bright spot in flat market: SYNNEX’s Martin

The SYNNEX Canada president also indicated they want to expand the GovSolv practice area in Canada, and see considerable untapped potential for Solv solutions in the pure small business space.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

Mitchell Martin, president of Synnex Canada.

ATLANTA –The distribution market in Canada has been pretty flat and unexciting over the last year, but SYNNEX’s Solv practice areas have been a bright area within that overall drab landscape. That’s the view of Mitchell Martin, SYNNEX Canada’s president.

“Things are stable and pretty flat,” Martin said. “We did see some pickup because of the expiration of Windows XP, but that has pretty much gone away.” On the flip side, some of the anticipated business from the expiration of Server 2003 hasn’t kicked in yet, even though the end of support is now less than three months away.

“These things always seem to come later than many folks predict, including some after the fact,” Martin said. “We have seen some runup there lately though.”

Martin said that the Solv solutions-centric practice areas, where SYNNEX has been encouraging partners to place their bets, have been delivering a strong return for the distributor.

“Technology solutions are a bright light, which is why we are so focused on them,” Martin said. “At SYNNEX we have seen great growth in that area, which has been growing over 20 per cent per year for us.” ConvergedSolv and VisualSolv are the largest two in Canada.

Martin also said that the Canadian Solv business has been picking up the pace compared to the Americans, who had major first mover advantages in each of the practice areas.

“We have made a lot of progress there,” he said. “Canada now represents about 10 per cent of our total Solv members, and that’s pretty good considering our later start. I’m very happy with the level of engagement now, and it’s not unusual now to see one or two Canadians in the top ten.”

The PrintSolv practice area, which focuses on automated fulfilment and metering, did not have a good year, but Martin doesn’t think there is any long-term cause for concern here.

“Our PrintSolv business did go down last year, but we should probably do a followup,” he said, indicating his belief that he decline has been arrested. “We have a very strong position in Canada and it is meeting our expectations.” While he acknowledged there was some discontent about bumps in the logistical road, he stressed his belief that generally resellers were pretty happy with the area.

The GovSolv area is much more established in the U.S than in Canada, but Martin said some strengthening is likely here.

“Right now, it’s just the education component, although we had a very strong result last year with our Google Chrome for Education,” he said. “We are doing evaluations now about how to broaden it out to government, and are talking about expanding the program in Canada. In Canada, most resellers are involved in government sales to some degree because most tend to be generalists, whereas in the U.S., the government business is very much a specialty area.”

Martin said that the technology solutions and services business in Canada today is 10-15 per cent of their commercial business, and is on track to double that fairly soon.

“We would like that to be 20-30 per cent, and that is the direction that we are headed in, within the next 2-3 years,” he said.

Martin also stressed that the solutions approach has a place throughout the whole of the SMB, even smaller businesses.

“There is definitely a space for technology solutions in small business,” he said. “I don’t think the opportunity is as large, but it is an opportunity nonetheless. We have had great growth in that segment over the last six months. It has grown over 30 per cent for us, and we are just getting started in terms of exposing that sector to technology solutions.”

That small business growth is helping expand SYNNEX’s already-strong presence in the SMB sector, Martin stated.

“We believe our market share of the SMB market is greater than 50 per cent,” he said.