Tech Data looks to drive innovation thought leadership with Milton Education Village Innovation Centre partnership

This third-party partnership will leverage Tech Data’s manufacturing and solution provider partners, as well as their internal resources, to collaborate with the MEV around digital transformation initiatives, especially for SMBs.

Ed Galasso, general manager of Canadian operations at Tech Data

Tech Data has announced what for them is an entirely new type of partnership. They will collaborate with the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre [MEV] in Milton, just west of Toronto. The idea is that Tech Data’s focus on broad digital transformation issues and their relationships with IT vendors and solution providers will facilitate collaboration with the MEV to help Milton-area businesses be more successful.

“This partnership speaks to the new Tech Data,” said Ed Galasso, general manager of Canadian operations at Tech Data. “For so long, we have been part of the PC ecosystem. We are now focused on helping our customers deliver business outcomes. We identified the MEV as an organization focused on innovation through collaboration and innovation, and the kind of organization that we want to be hooked up with to drive more conversations around innovation. That’s a good place to be.”

The MEV is an initiative ecosystem, established in 2014, with the stated goal of enabling an entrepreneurial culture for business growth, start-ups, incubation, intersection for innovation, education and training in the region. Their other strategic partners include Wilfrid Laurier University.

“Tech Data is a very different kind of organization from the MEV, but we have similar goals of solving business transformation issues,” said Christine Johnston, Manager for Strategy and Solutions at Tech Data. “What I’m most excited about in working with the MEV is talking with the different types of organizations that will be involved – solution providers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, educators – and bringing our own ecosystem to the table to help solve some of their problems.”

“In my 17 years at Tech Data, I haven’t been involved with an initiative like this one,” Galasso said. “We do a lot of different events and have a lot of different relationships around IT, but this one is special in its focus on education and collaboration to bring about digital transformation. This is all about changing the conversation. We want to increase a focus on business outcomes that drive quality of life. It’s about using technology like security, AI and the Internet of Things to drive change in areas like assisted living, or other health and medical verticals.

“This isn’t something that any one part of the channel can do on its own,” Galasso added. “It requires solution providers, manufacturers and deep thinking, in order to deliver thought leadership around digital transformation and third platform solutions.”

Christine Johnston, Manager for Strategy and Solutions at Tech Data

While this kind of initiative is brand new for Tech Data, Johnston stressed that it is a key part of their larger strategy.

“This partnership with Milton fits in with our overall specialist solutions strategy,” she said. “Our value proposition is as a solutions aggregator in our industry bringing together solution components and enablement to have better conversations around third party initiatives, and this is another initiative in that strategy.”

Plans for the partnership involve the development of several new offerings. These will include free events, workshops, and specialized programming and conferences, which will have the goal of increasing business development opportunities and implementing technology services.

Tech Data’s customers will be brought into the initiative.

“These solutions don’t just happen on their own,” Galasso said. “We will bring in both manufacturers and solution providers who are expert in specific areas that we address, like education. At Tech Data, we have our own deep bench as well We will leverage them all in this relationship to deliver whole solutions, and contribute to an environment of creative thinking that will expand business relationships in Halton Region and beyond.”

Galasso said that while the news is still pretty fresh, the feedback from their customers has been positive.

“The little bit that I have heard from vendors is that digital transformation is daunting, and they are applauding us for helping deliver capabilities to address it to SMBs with this initiative,” he said.

“The event that we held yesterday at the MEV to announce this partnership was met with a lot of excitement from an audience made up of all different groups,” Johnston said. “Security and the IoT are challenges for them.”