D&H Canada links up with Intel

D&H Canada has been in Canada for a decade, and Intel has been a stalwart of the industry for decades beyond that. But a changing market has opened the door to a new partnership.

Randy Churchill, director of marketing and business development for D&H Canada

Randy Churchill, director of marketing and business development for D&H Canada

At first blush, it would seem a surprise that a partnership between D&H and Intel being new to Canada in 2019.

But that is the case, as a new distribution deal will see the Canadian arm of the SMB-focused distributor will stock Intel-branded technology for the first time.

Under the deal, D&H will stock both components form Intel — processors, SSDs and the like — and complete products, like the small form-factor desktop, the Next Unit of Computing, or NUC.

The two vendors are no strangers to each other by any means. Intel and D&H have worked together south of the border for almost two decades, according to Randy Churchill, currently director of marketing and business development for D&H Canada, and previously, the marketing manager at D&H responsible for the launch of the Intel partnership in the U.S.

However, until this new deal to kick of 2019, the only way D&H Canada saw Intel products was “in the boxes we bring in from HP, Lenovo, and everyone else,” as Churchill put it.

So why pull the trigger on bringing the deal to Canada now? On many levels, the answer seems to be that the market is changing, and that seems to be the answer for both sides making this change now.

For Intel, last year saw the first time in its history that processors made up less than 50 percent of its overall revenues, as there’s more focus on SSDs, on graphics accelerators, and other solution areas. That changing reality opens up opportunities with new types of solutions providers, and thus new distributors.

From D&H’s perspective, the deal gives them access to a couple of others where the distributor sees its competitors reducing their focus — Churchill described what he sees as “a general retraction” from the SMB VAR community on the part of distribution, and he offered this new Intel relationship as one point of evidence in support of his thesis.

“Intel said now’s the time to really go after that space, and to work with us on those unique customers,” Churchill said.

Some other changes also played into the decision.

First, the NUC and other Intel offerings fit into the distributor’s new push on the professional AV market, which has seen a renewed focus from distribution in general over the last year.

Second, while the system builder business is not what it used to be in the channel, it remains a significant portion of the market in Quebec. Quebec is another market where D&H is investing in the face of what it sees as its competitors reducing focus.

Third, Intel’s server products fit in well with D&H’s renewed focus on that area.

“It mirrors our Cisco business well, and our security business as well,” Churchill said.

Fourth, the distributor sees an opportunity for Intel with new types of partners, smaller solution providers that tend to be loyal D&H customers — in many cases because the distributor prides itself on making credit available to new and small VARs.

Churchill said he expects it to be a pretty smooth vendor onboarding considering the longstanding relationship in the U.S., and that the Canadian organization is looking at bringing in some of the programs and processes that have proven successful with Intel in the channel Stateside.

For example, in the U.S., the distributor has offered a “concierge” program for the Intel Technology Provider (ITP) program. ITP is Intel’s catch-all channel program and provides a variety of incentives in many categories. Geared at smaller VARs, and notably smaller VARs that are new to Intel, the concierge program aims to help members navigate the benefits available to them.

“We help them understand the benefits, and spend time with them one-on-one to help a partner get the most out of ITP,” Churchill said of the program.

D&H Canada will soon introduce the same concierge capabilities, he said.