Ascribing to the theory bigger is better, Tech Data Canada is extending its Xalyx business unit to include networking manufacturers and products.

According to the Mississauga, Ont.-based distributor it is expanding the storage-focused unit to capitalize on emerging technologies. Unit director Ray Gonsalves says it will help VARs focus on the “V” in their title.

“They struggle with the expertise required to so and the roadmap of, ‘I need to get it, but how do I get there?'” says Gonsalves. “They struggle with remaining objective in terms of building their plans out because they have all the different manufacturers calling on them directly and everybody’s got the best solution and everyone’s the market leader.”

Xalyx began three years ago as a unit with the former Globelle Corp., just before Tech Data acquired the company in 1998.

Tech Data will provide more than technical help. Gonsalves says VARs can capitalize on its experience of trying to build a value-added business. He says he would like the relationship to be more of a partnership and help customers develop market strategies.

“We want to lead them into some profitable markets where the channel is best suited to deliver value,” says Gonsalves. “It’s a good end-to-end revenue opportunity for these guys with margin.”

Don’t expect that margin to come from big companies. Gonsalves says he doesn’t think enterprise class firms are looking to install, for example, 1,000 or more IP phones. Mid-size companies are another story. He says it is much easier to demonstrate the return on investment on 100 or so phones.

The decision to move in the networking direction came from discussion with vendors earlier this year. Gonsalves says they were concerned about a lack of expertise and resources in the reseller channel to help them market with technology they feel has come of age. Tech Data agreed and says the time market conditions were right for the change.

“What we’re doing is adding more resources, sales specialists that are engaging the customers on a face-to-face basis to work with them to develop opportunities in the networking, more so on the emerging technology side than the existing technology. We’re talking voice-over-IP, wireless technologies,” says Gonsalves.

“Something we’re following very closely is the ISCSI. If the adoption happens on that you’ll see storage area networks over existing IP infrastructure.”

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