Hitachi Vantara expands Internet of Things relationship with Tech Data in North America

Hitachi Vantara and Tech Data have announced an expansion of their long-term relationship to expand their business around the Internet of Things. It will see Tech Data add solutions from all the companies that were involved in the formation of Vantara. It will also provide for greater collaboration between Tech Data and Hitachi Vantara around go-to-market activities, including aggressive recruiting by Tech Data for partners focused on the Internet of Things who have not been working with Hitachi Vantara.

The expansion of this relationship is particularly important in Canada, where Tech Data is the sole Hitachi Vantara distributor.

Peter Kriparos, Head, Strategic Alliances, Hitachi Vantara Canada

“Several years ago, Hitachi Data Systems [HDS] made a decision to consolidate with one sole distributor in Canada and have all of our VARs purchase through a sole distributor – Avnet,” said Peter Kriparos, Head, Strategic Alliances, Hitachi Vantara Canada. “That allowed us to create more overarching programs.”

At that time, up to and after Avnet’s acquisition by Tech Data, the relationship was very much around HDS’ traditional solutions. The business of the other two Hitachi companies besides HDS that were merged into Vantara – Pentaho and Hitachi Insight Group – was not consolidated through the single distributor either.

“As HDS evolved, the focus for Avnet and then Tech Data was still recruitment, development and management of our traditional core solutions – data storage, content, converged and HCI platforms, and application-driven solutions,” Kriparos said. “The other two companies in Canada were more managed on a per-transaction basis, and not just through Tech Data. Now everything goes through Tech Data, and we are placing a much higher emphasis than before on the Internet of Things. While before we focused on infrastructure partners with a strong services-led approach, now we are looking at how they are investing in analytics.”

Kriparos said that the Hitachi Vantara channel in Canada going forward will consist of three groups.

“One is our traditional partners that are evolving into this area, that complements their core solutions, in the same way that we are,” he stated. “They are evolving same way we are, in their case by acquiring other companies with IoT skills, or acquiring individuals with these skills. A second group is analytics, consulting services-based organizations, some of whom will not be as large from a revenue sense, since they are more focused on services and not on hardware and software drag. The third group is the born in the cloud service providers and telcos who are looking for more of an as-a-service offering

Hitachi Vantara is presently creating a new, integrated partner program that will roll out with the start of the company’s new fiscal year on April 1, and which will enable all these types of partners to better pursue Vantara’s goal of becoming the leader in the Internet of Things space. Kriparos said that the timing of the Tech Data announcement now indicates that the distributor is fully geared up for the new focus almost two months before Vantara will have its own programmatic tools ready.

“The launch of Vantara back at our NEXT event last September was just a beginning point for us in terms of integrating the strategies,” Kriparos indicated. “Tech Data has gotten ahead of our new harmonized  partner program, and will be able to provide a completely consolidated approach in how we go to market.”

Kriparos noted that Tech Data has beefed up the already-significant Internet of Things business it acquired with Avnet.

“Within the last year, this specialized business unit has been a focus for them, and they have over 300 partners with a focus on data analytics and IoT,” he said. “They have a team that is technically and business-equipped to manage a new segment of partners for us.”

Kriparos emphasized that Vantara will be looking to Tech Data to bring them together with quality new partners with an analytics focus.

“There are a lot of these companies in Canada who we have not tapped into because we haven’t had a partner program that incorporated Pentaho and IoT solutions as part of the core offering,” he said. “We have gone outside of our comfort level, in the past, and brought in some analytics-focused organizations into the Hitachi True North program. Our new program will not have any lines, as the old one did, and will be completely harmonized. With Vantara, our approach to our solutions has become analytics-led, and we can’t do it without partners who have these skills.”

Tech Data will assist in the recruitment of these new partners, and they will also add new products from Vantara like the Pentaho suite of data analytics and integration solutions and services that were not part of the original relationship with HDS. They will also play key roles in Vantara’s go-to-market strategy in Canada.

“Since the integration, we have played an instrumental role in working with some Tech Data sales reps, training them on aligning with Hitachi,” Kriparos said. “We will now have access to additional resources and access to Tech Data field partner managers across Canada.

“We will also be able to leverage the specialized business unit within Tech Data whose mandate is around analytics and the IOT,” he added. “We were selling analytics products through them before, but not using them in a business development sense, where we are actively training new partners.”