Linda Rendleman uses a familiar phrase to describe the sales of endpoint computing devices. “Stack it high and sell it low,” she told attendees at Tech Data Canada’s Endpoint Solutions Symposium in Mississauga this week. “It’s all about ‘How many can I sell you?’”
But Rendleman, senior vice president of endpoint solutions for the Americas at Tech Data, isn’t a proponent of that mindset anymore. Instead, she detailed Tech Data’s journey transforming its endpoint business from the high-volume, low-margin business of the past into something that can be more valuable for solution providers and their customers alike.
“There’s a much bigger solutions opportunity in the endpoint space,” Rendleman told attendees. “A lot of people walk away from endpoint opportunities, but we encourage them to look at it in terms of solving customer problems, crafting solutions, and adding in services. It makes it a much better value proposition for you, and for your customers.”
It’s an idea that’s hard to overcome for solution providers — and no doubt for the distributor too, like Tech Data and its peers built a massive scale of business around being able to cheaply and efficiently stock and ship masses of low-cost PCs for more than two decades. But Rendleman shared how the company has “transformed our whole go-to-market strategy” around the endpoint after the last few years, sharing examples of the distributor working with solution providers to help create higher-value solutions for customers built around specific endpoint needs.
That transformation has been bolstered and powered by a couple of developments within the distributor. First, Tech Data took its Maverick pro-audio-video business global, introducing the originally Europe-centric business to North America. That’s put opportunities around collaboration systems and software into the endpoint business and provided a logical extension to PC and other device sales which is by its nature more solutions-oriented. And secondly, the distributor has launched its Tech-as-a-Service subscription model for hardware, software, and services, which encourages customers to make a monthly payment model for endpoint devices, and which Rendleman said is a great fit for customers looking for match different end-users with the right devices for them to reach peak productivity, rather than sticking in the traditional IT mindset of one configuration for all workers regardless of requirements.
The message of the day was clear — that solution providers can drive more value out of selling endpoints by taking a solutions approach rather than “pushing boxes.”
“Nobody’s beaming data into anyone’s head directly yet, so every solution includes some sort of endpoint,” Rendleman quipped. “Why not position endpoint in a way that makes it more successful and profitable for you?”
Introducing Rendleman, who was in town for the event from Tech Data corporate headquarters in Florida, was Tech Data Canada vice president and general manager Ed Galasso, who urged attendees to rethink the typical endpoint sale.
“It’s time to redefine this opportunity,” Galasso said.
The Tech Data executives were joined on-stage by several vendor partners, each offering a look at a different aspect of the endpoint market. Dell Canada’s Osama Khalid and Microsoft Canada’s Kirk Sinclair both presented on the upcoming end-of-life opportunities around Windows 7, Windows 2008 Server and Office 2010, while Intel’s Devlin Norris offered a look into Intel’s PC processor roadmap.
Rounding out the presentations, HP’s Towen Chrea presented on the opportunity around premium devices, such as its own EliteBook line, and Lenovo’s Jason Laxamana took a look at the other side of the equation, looking at the small form factor desktop market and embedded opportunity around the company’s Thinkcentre nano lineup.