New service opportunities from distributors

Since the start of the new-year, distributors have been rolling out new offerings that will benefit resellers – to help them run their business better, or help them target vertical markets such as education.

Tech Data, for example, has teamed up with The Business Network (TBN)

to offer a free e-business Web seminar. The seminar – why 90 per cent of e-business initiatives end in failure and what you can do differently to succeed – is designed specifically for the Canadian IT distribution channel.

The purpose of the seminar is to give resellers tools to manage, develop, design and maintain a Web store using XML-based technologies – including information about online quoting and real-time pricing, as well as submitting orders and managing assets.

The 30-minute seminar is being held every Thursday this March and April at 2:00 pm E.S.T. (RSVP to Carolyn Hanrahan at

Ingram Micro, for its part, has rolled out a service to help resellers create sales and service opportunities with refurbished technology. Ingram Micro Outlet handles the process of refurbishing technology products for both resellers and manufacturers, from product restoration to returns management.

This should make the process a little bit smoother for resellers who offer trade-in programs to their customers – and it doesn’t hurt that it helps the environment, too. Resellers can also offer products from the outlet – ideal for low-margin markets such as SMEs and education. Refurbished products offer an alternative to clones and can help resellers compete against big-name vendors or clone makers that sell into these markets.

After all, not everyone wants to pay for brand-spanking new technology with all the latest bells and whistles. Refurbished technology is a market that should be expanded further, providing more cost-effective solutions for cash-strapped customers, while making use of technology that would otherwise be headed for the garbage dump. Taking the hassle out of this process is a bonus for both reseller and manufacturer. Let’s hope we see more of this type of offering from other distributors.

Hartco is also offering a wider range of products that could potentially be sold into low-margin markets, such as SMEs and education. The company is extending its offerings from Acer Canada to include laptops, desktops and servers. Acer, which only sells through the channel, also offers tablet PCs, which could be a good option for niche markets — where customers are looking for a low-cost alternative to laptops.

Distie Tid Bits

In other news, Michael Mercer, Bell Micro’s vice-president and creator of the STORMe reseller program, has left the company for StorageTek Canada. Bell Micro’s STORMe program was designed to help resellers sell third-party storage solutions in markets dominated by tier-one server and storage OEMs. Mercer will bring his knowledge of the storage market to StorageTek, which has experienced six quarters of year-over-year revenue growth. The company attributes its growth — during a tough time for most IT companies — to its investments in channels and technology. Perhaps we should expect to see another “storm” brewing over at StorageTek — something storage resellers should look forward to.

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