Express Data has done amazingly well in a market that some observers argue is becoming increasingly difficult for distributors to operate within.
Express Data general manager of vendors, David Peach, said this success that led to the distributor picking up Software Distributor of the Year for the third year in a row was largely a result of the support organisation behind the sale.
“There is a certain degree of complexity around the licensing of software, and some around the certifications that our partners need to hold, so we’ve done various things throughout the year to work with our partners to help remove some of that complexity,” Peach said.
“I think the consistency around us is just getting better, and our partners are relying on that more and more.”
And it’s that ability to reduce the complexity around software that has seen Express Data find a place in a market that is seeing increased competition from vendors selling direct, or e-commerce sources.
“Our software business is going strongly,” Peach said. “There is that discussion from time to time around ordering overseas, but the thing is, the transaction is only one part of the puzzle.
“Our partners look for us traditionally to being more than just a transactional partner. It’s the things we do to help them around some complicated programs, and helping them to train their staff to effectively sell it and position the solution.
"If you start to look to purchase through other means, you’re not getting that support.”
Express Data has a number of staff focused entirely on helping out vendors help customers with software challenges, he added.
“An example of that would be the work we’ve done around the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA),” Peach said.
“We’ve got people dedicated to that program within ED who are going out and working one-on-one with partners and helping them to build a business. “It’s not just with Microsoft, either, but with a half dozen other programs we run with other software vendors. I think that’s something we put a lot of investment into in the last year. And I think a growing number of our partners are seeing the benefit of that.”
All in all, Express Data is very confident of its continued role in the software space into the future, despite the huge changes that part of the industry is currently undergoing.
“I think going forward, the channel is going through a period of transition with the move to alternative types of consumption models – call it software- as-a-service, or cloud, or whatever, it is a time of transition that the channel is going to be on for now and into the foreseeable future,” Peach said. "Our role is evolving along with that.”