New IT distribution model builds on services

Distribution in 2018 has moved a long way from pick, pack and ship of IT products, and has substantially broadened its offering with a wide range of services, says a new report focusing on European distributors.

The theme of specialisation is running strongly in the global IT supply business - the level of expertise and process of getting really close to customers is meaning that channels of all types, from traditional resellers to cloud providers, are concentrating their efforts on what they do best- either from a technical or market perspective. This has created a need for others to provide the specialist services, knowledge or abilities in associated areas. Distributors, being strictly channel-only, and with an existing relationship with channels of all types, are the logical place to turn for such help and are reporting a surge in take-up of their services.

It has been the case for a number of years that distribution has supplied services, some bespoke, some from a prepared list of offerings. Most recently it is clear that this service provision has exploded, with the GTDC listing some 70+ examples ranging from technical configuration to licence management, from marketing services to finance.

A special report by IT Europa examines the changes in the distribution relationship and at the supply of IT services by distribution in Europe. “The distribution industry has become instrumental in much more than just delivering technology products to the right places at the right time,” says GTDC CEO, Tim Curran. “Shipping product is no longer the mainstay. Today‘s distribution leaders bring much more to the equation through their unique, highly diversified services portfolios.”

The report, for the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) which drives more than $150 billion in annual worldwide sales of products, services and solutions, cites several leading distributors who have invested strongly in services, including Arrow ECS, Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Westcon and eastern Europe’s AB.

IT Europa’s editor, John Garratt, said: “We have been reporting on the drive for specialisation among resellers, solution providers and integrators - this focus means they have to rely even more on third party support and the distributor is the logical place to turn for such services. We expect their services portfolios to grow still further in 2018, with financing, cloud, security and marketing support becoming more widely used.”