Avnet Partner Solutions has introduced new services for partners and customers it hopes will score big in Canada.

The distributor said at its annual Enterprise Partner Summit in Phoenix this week that it is expanding the consulting services partners can offer clients, some of which they

can deliver under their own name.

In addition, Avnet revealed Renewal Portal for HP, a Web site partners can use for tracking their Hewlett-Packard customer service contracts.

“I think they’ll be widely received,” Gavin Miller, Canadian vice-president and general manager, said of the new services in an interview.

The consulting services, which include project management and advice on deploying Microsoft CRM, will be handy for customers who can’t afford to have full-time experts on their staff, he said.

“Since my taking the reins here [in October] I’ve been traveling around to customers, and one of the common themes is how can we help drive profitable business growth. They’re looking for programs in which they can leverage our expertise.”

The new offerings are

– Consolidated Impact Assessment (C.I.A.), a tool Avnet staff can use at a customer site to collect system information which can be used to determine if and how their environment can benefit for consolidatingservers and storage;

– ProjectConnect, a project management service;

– ClientConnect, a package of consulting and implementation services for Microsoft CRM on either HP or IBM hardware.

Jim Kleeman, Avnet’s vice-president and general manager for the Americas, emphasized that ClientConnect is not a turnkey CRM solution. Heprefers to call it a “bundled solution.”

While partners can call in Avnet experts to do project management and CRM consulting, VARs don’t have to tell customers those peopleare Avnet employees; they can be passed off as members of the reseller’s staff.

However, C.I.A. is an Avnet-only branded service.

If Canadian Avnet partners do call on these experts,however, most will fly up from the U.S. to do the work. There are only three Avnet consolidation experts, all based in the U.S. Miller said there are two Canadian-based experts to do other consulting services requests.

These services are being added to Avnet’s existing offering, a networked storage advisory and per-event consulting.

“Everybody’s looking to grow,” said Kleeman, “and we feel [consulting] is one way to do it.”

The HP Renewal Portal will be a tool Avnet VARs can use to drive more revenue by being aware of upcoming maintenance contract expirations,he said.

Avnet has a contract database, but, Kleeman acknowledged, it was cumbersome so partners didn’t take advantage of it.

The Enterprise Partners Summit is a conference for Avnet’s HP resellers. About 3,000 people have registered for the event, includingrepresentatives from 15 Canadian VARs.

Avnet has about 50 partners in Canada, including major VARs such as NexInnovations and xWave.

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