Tech Data Canada looks to build on Dell EMC 2016 Canadian Distributor Partner award

Tech Data Canada President Rick Reid talks about what they have been doing with Dell and where they will be going in the future as the new Dell EMC overhauls its distribution strategy.


Tech Data’s Rick Reid, at Dell EMC World, with Dell EMC’s Cheryl Cook (L) and John Byrne (R) on either side.

Tech Data was the winner of the Canadian Distributor Partner of the Year award at last week’s Dell EMC World. The distributor is looking to use this as a springboard to drive its business with the company much deeper going forward.

“We are pleased and proud to have won this award,” said Rick Reid, President of Tech Data Canada. “As President of Tech Data Canada, I had the honour of accepting it, while doing very little on a day to day business to earn it. The award is a recognition of the employees at Tech Data Canada, who deal with Dell every day, who actually earned it.”

Tech Data’s business with Dell is still relatively small, because it is relatively recent. While the two organizations had done business in earlier years, the present relationship began only when Dell signed on with Tech Data Canada in September 2014, as part of Dell’s return to distribution. At that time, it was limited to the PC client business, although it has since expanded.

“We started off with the client business first, and that gained traction, and continues to do well,” Reid said. “The data centre products have been slower to catch on, but have picked up the pace quite nicely recently. Dell is still not at the same level yet as some of our other vendors, but is growing strongly. The year-over-year growth looks fantastic because of their late entry into distribution.”

Reid indicated that Tech Data Canada has followed a multi-faceted strategy in building up its Dell business.

“There are a lot of well established partners that do Dell business, who we have been trying to win over,” he said. “However, we are very conscious that going after them exclusively is not what Dell wants us to do. So we have been working with other partners who have not been working with Dell in the past and trying to get them to do so now.”

With EMC now in the Dell fold, that opens up the prospect of Tech Data Canada being able to get some of that EMC business – which they are now shut out from in Canada.

“We had the EMC line for several years, and then EMC made a decision in the U.S. to go with one distributor exclusively in Canada, and that was Arrow here,” Reid said. “They do work with Tech Data in the U.S. Our hopes are high that with the U.S. business it will bode well for us with EMC. Even though they are now a part of Dell, they will operate in the same fashion they had before the acquisition was finalized. There will, however, be an RFI very shortly to seek out deeper distribution partnerships.”

At Dell EMC World, new global channel chief John Byrne said that significant changes to Dell EMC distribution will be announced by December. While the details have not yet been developed, Byrne indicated that more emphasis on services and advanced solutions will be expected.

“We are also going to put pressure on distributors — incent the distributors — to attach our services globally,” Byrne said at the event. “They also have to drive solutions.”

Reed thinks this emphasis will work in Tech Data’s favour.

“Like most other OEMs these days, they don’t just want fulfillment services,” he said. “They will look for lead generation in particular lines of business, with professional services wrapped around them. As a value-added distributor, we think we will be able to offer exactly the services they are looking for.”

That capacity will only increase when the acquisition of Avnet ATS closes next year, Reid stressed.

“Avnet is very much aligned in line-of-business fashion, which will work well here,” he said. “We think that will reinforce the wisdom of our decision to acquire Avnet. It is still away off, in the spring time frame, but it’s still a month and a half closer than when we announced it.”