LAS VEGAS – Distributor Avnet Hall-Mark has created a new unit aimed at driving sales in IBM’s xSeries market.

The company announced here during IBM PartnerWorld that the new XPReS Group (short for xSeries, printers, remarketing and software) will focus on solutions that combine IBM software

and its Intel-based xSeries servers.

“”It lets us provide greater technical expertise and streamlined sales support to our 60 Canadian resellers,”” Michael Gavarkovs, vice-president and general manager of the company’s Canadian division, said in an interview here.

As part of the initiative there will be dedicated Avnet Hallmark staff in Canada to help solution providers there with sales and technical questions.

The company is targeting clustering and virtualization, provisioning and application and workload solutions, as well as clients who want to use Linux. It believes that by combining its xSeries and software businesses into one unit it can make better use of resources. Resellers will be able to do business with the distributor easier, Gavarkovs said Avnet will be able to deliver higher technical and sales support.

Late last year Avnet’s IBM division developed what it called “”EBOD in a Box,”” a set of tools and services for IBM resellers to help identify and mine market opportunities.

The company also announced that it is offering an online back-office solution for its resellers called Visual Business Suite as part of its Channel Connection partner portal.

The suite eliminates the need for Avnet members to fax product orders. It features automated matching of sales orders, invoices and purchase orders; commission, clothing attach rate and rebate tracking; installed product marketing at the line item; and real-time profitability reporting at the rep, product and customer level.

The suite is a product of VBS Software LLC of Lexington, Kentucky.

“”Significant productivity gains will be realized by increased efficiency, reduced costs and elimination of manual errors,”” said Gavarkovs. Orders will be shown in Canadian dollars.

He estimated the time needed to write up complex orders could be cut from hours to 20 minutes.

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