Avnet adds value to IBM channel

Avnet adds value to IBM channel

In a bid to provide its reseller channel with value-added distribution, IBM has extended a global agreement with Avnet to distribute a range of the vendor's products in Australia.

Under the terms of the agreement which is effective immediately, Avnet Computer Marketing, the Australian arm of international IT distributor Avnet, will supply its channel partners with all of IBM's storage, server and software offerings. These offerings include IBM middleware products WebSphere, DB2 and Tivoli Systems, according to IBM officials.

In order to gain the appointment, Avnet had to assume the distribution of IBM's eServer range and storage products from Australian distributor Tardis. To do this Avnet purchased the Tardis division for an undisclosed sum.

According to Avnet vice president and country manager Colin McKenna, the distributor will leverage the former Tardis division to quickly establish its IBM sales, while providing the greater channel with a value-added distribution model previously unseen for IBM products.

Targeting the enterprise market of business-solution sales rather than point-product fulfillment, McKenna claims Avnet will offer resellers a range of value-added services to grow their businesses and better support their customers. These services consist of business planning, financing packages, marketing and technical support, and training.

Avnet will begin rolling out programs in line with these services in May, with two financing packages and a Web-based marketing program first off the rank, McKenna said.

"This is really the start of value-added distribution in Australia," asserts McKenna.

With the investment of six Tardis staff in addition to 24 of its own employees, Avnet expects the agreement to produce strong revenues for the company.

"It's a new Australian venture for us so the growth will be huge," McKenna said. "The Tardis group will grow [our business] very aggressively."

While Avnet has been a strong partner of IBM globally for the vendor's products, market position and branding, IBM was eager to exploit Avnet's 200-plus resellers in Australia.

"That's part of the reason why we did it - suddenly we've got a large number of partners we haven't had [access to] before," Andrew Baker, IBM director of Global Business Partners Australia/New Zealand, said.

Baker claims the appointment of

a value-added distributor will complement rather than compete with the

vendor's existing time-and-place volume distributors.

"The models are very different, so the target markets are very different," claims Baker. "There is more than enough room in the [IBM] market for Avnet."Photograph: Avnet's Colin McKenna

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