Varnex celebrates 10 years

Bob Stegner, senior vice president of North American marketing at Synnex

Bob Stegner, senior vice president of North American marketing at Synnex

SAN DIEGO — Synnex kicked off the Varnex Fall Conference here celebrating the SMB-focused reseller group’s tenth year.

Steve Jow, senior vice president of sales for the U.S. at Synnex, kicked off the festivities, outlining how in the beginning, they dreamed of the day when “Project Varnex” would be a $404 million business fo the distribution. Today, the reseller community is worth north of a billion dollars of revenue for the distributor, and includes 450 resellers across North America, including nearly 100 in Canada, as well as more than 40 Japanese solution providers — 15 of which have had representatives make the journey to San Diego for this week’s conference.

“My hair is grayer, and the goals are larger, but what a ride and what a great ten years it’s been,” Jow said.

Bob Stegner, senior vice president of North American marketing at Synnex, and one of the longtime champions of Synnex, recalled the birth of the organization shortly after his arrival at the distributor. Despite the clear etymology of the groups name — a portmanteau of VAR and Synnex, the two key components of the community — Stegner wasn’t sold on the group’s name. Until he found out who came up with name.

“They told me ‘[Synnex founder] Bob Huang came up with it. Learn to live with it,’” Stegner recalled.

And indeed he did.

The name may say the same, but the group will inevitably change — Jow himself touched on the number of “new villagers for the new world” are joining the community, and many of them wouldn’t identify with anything close to the SMB reseller “of old.” Indeed, a look around the room reveals many more cloud-centric and managed services-focused partners, and Synnex itself encourages those plays with its collection of Solv practices around technology and vertical plays. While the group has traditionally been defined by infrastructure and client-server businesses, Jow stressed the future direction of cloud and “everything-as-a-service” as the future for the community.

And the vendor community will change, as well. This year’s Varnex is the first to see a Cisco executive take to the main stage, courtesy of Synnex’s acquisition of Westcon-Comstor, a distribution business itself almost entirely focused on the networking giant. Nirav Sheth, vice president of partner architectures and engineering in Cisco’s global partner organization, offered a presentation very much aimed at the new-to-Cisco solution provider, focused on the “easy ways to get started” with the vendor, including its Meraki cloud-managed networks, Hyperflex converged infrastructure, Umbrella DNS-based security offering, and Spark collaboration tools, as well as its newly-unveiled partnership with Connectwise.

Meanwhile, the community’s reseller council members — including new Canadian president Todd Crystal of Montreal-based Spencomp Solutions — outlined the plan for the near futures, highlighting program benefits old and new, and repeating Stegner’s oft-stated mantra for reseller members of the group — “You get it into it what you put in.”

“If we all get engaged, we should all be able to grow, and that’s what it’s all about,” said Craig Sehi, vice president of Sehi Computer Products and outgoing Canadian council president.

Crystal’s message focused on the long-standing effort to get more employees across members’ organizations involved in the Varnex community — taking advantage of networking and learning opportunities, as well as the Varnex University training programs, which now include sales and leadership tracks. While 81 per cent of members have executives attend various Varnex continental and regional conferences, Crystal said, there’s a great opportunity to get more member associates involved.