There are some new faces on this year’s Tech Data Canada Business Builder Tour, and they’re faces that as recently as last year, probably wouldn’t have been so welcome at the distributor’s events.
In addition to its usual vendor seminars and trade show sessions, the company is using this year’s Tour, which started in Quebec City and Montreal last week, to introduce the former Avnet Technology Solutions (acquired earlier this year) team to Tech Data Canada resellers. Solution providers who may have primarily dealt with Avnet instead of Tech Data have also been invited out to help them get a feel for the nature of the new combined entity.
“It’s an interesting opportunity to have the Enterprise Solutions [the new Tech Data brand for the former Avnet Technology Solutions business] people there, representing the various Enterprise Solutions SBUs,” said Irene Buchan, director of marketing and product management at Tech Data Canada. “We recognize one of our biggest opportunities this year is to bring in former Avnet partners, and it’s great for them to see what we’re all about at these events.”
Buchan indicated that after the two events in Quebec last week — with Montreal and Quebec City on back-to-back days — the ES presence will ramp up fo the rest of the tour, which includes stops in Toronto May 23, and then returns for fall dates in Vancouver (September 28), Calgary (October 26) and Ottawa (November 16.)
Along with presenting the breadth and capabilities of the Enterprise Solutions group to legacy Tech Data partners, and the same Tech Data characteristics to former Avnet Technology Solutions partners, Buchan said the distributor is focusing on making sure solution providers are up to date on the latest developments in its cloud strategy.
There are new vendors on hand as well — NetApp, for example, is participating in BBT for the first time, as it did not have a relationship with Tech Data Canada prior to the acquisition. Buchan indicated that there will be “a couple of additional traditional Avnet vendors” joining the Tour for its May stop in Toronto and subsequent dates into the fall.
The distributor is also bringing back the Connect IT events it runs in concert with certain BBT dates. The idea of these events is to partner with a TechSelect partner to run partner- and vendor-led sessions early in the day prior to the channel-facing BBT seminars and trade show event. Under the Connect IT brand rather than its own name, Tech Data plans, organizes, and leads on execution for the events, but takes a back seat to the partner’s brand on the day of the event.
This year, BBT included a Connect IT event on the Quebec City leg, and will include the event in its Calgary and Ottawa as well. It will also run a similar event at a non-BBT stop, its annual Lobsterfest day in Halifax in June.
Considering the packed calendar of the Canadian, and North American, channel community, finding the right dates to run events like BBT can be an event. And even when all the major industry events are accounted for, there are always late-announced potential conflicts. Like when the NHL decides to put the first Montreal Canadiens playoff game on the same day as your Montreal-area event. It’s not an unprecedented happening.
“It happens every year,” Buchan lamented. “But we decided to embrace it.”
As it’s done in the past for BBT stops in Quebec and Ontario that conflict with important NHL playoff games, the distributor quickly made plans to turn the trade show event into a playoff party, and even added a new last-minute prize to be had by one fortunate attendee — a pair of tickets to Friday night’s game two. This is Canada, after all. You can’t fight playoff hockey.
“We couldn’t be in Montreal on a playoff game day and not embrace it,” Buchan said.