D&H Launches Multimillion-Dollar AI PC Blitz, Expects To Train 5,000 Partners

‘D&H is making a multimillion-dollar investment to continue our history of investing ahead of the curve and looking around the corner to ensure our partners are prepared, trained and armed for the next wave of opportunity,’ says D&H Co-President Dan Schwab.

D&H Distributing is launching a multimillion-dollar AI PC sales blitz that includes outfitting its 800-person sales/support team with AI PCs and a roadshow that aims to get 5,000 partners selling the new systems.

“D&H is making a multimillion-dollar investment to continue our history of investing ahead of the curve and looking around the corner to ensure our partners are prepared, trained and armed for the next wave of opportunity,” said D&H Co-President Dan Schwab in an interview with CRN. “It’s the future. Clearly our recommendation is if you are looking to upgrade your system you need to future proof your investments. That is what we are telling our partners.”

D&H already has AI PCs in stock or on the way to the distributor from HP, Dell, Lenovo, Microsoft Surface and MSI.

[RELATED: D&H Co-President Dan Schwab On The ‘Rolling Thunder’ AI PC Opportunity For Partners]

The first step in the AI PC sales charge is outfitting its 800-strong sales and support team with new AI systems and then providing them with training over the next month from the full fleet of AI PC vendors and suppliers including PC makers and chipmakers AMD, Intel and Qualcomm.

“We need to leverage the technology we sell,” said Schwab. “How can our sales reps evangelize the technology if they, in turn, are not utilizing and fluent on this groundbreaking, innovative technology.”

Once D&H has its own team trained, the distributor is setting its sights on a summer road show that will focus on how partners can drive big business productivity gains for customers with the new systems. “We expect to train and educate 5,000 partners by the Fall,” said Schwab.

D&H is also looking at rolling out an AI demo program for partners, he said. “One of the things we want to do is have our resellers, where appropriate, utilize AI in their businesses,” he said. “Just like D&H’s sales reps need to be fluent to be able to talk about AI PCs so do our partners need to be fluent to talk to their end users.”

D&H sees the AI PC, sparking a “rolling thunder” major upgrade cycle for businesses, said Schwab. “We believe the next three years will be a renaissance of opportunity for our partners and manufacturers as it relates to the natural upgrade cycle, the acceleration of AI PCs and Windows 11 and the forthcoming Windows 12 sometime over the next year,” he said.

One of the keys to the D&H AI PC sales offensive will be “shining the light” on the differences between the AI PC systems being brought to market especially in the light of the different chip sets and new NPUs (Neural Processing Units), said Schwab.

One early positive sign of the emergence of the AI PC opportunity is a strong double digit rise on price quotes and order activity over the last month with AI systems beginning to become available, said Schwab. “That shows the AI PC inflection point is beginning to occur,” he said.

Steve Van Ginkel, senior vice president of partner alliances for Sterling, the $1 billion plus solution provider powerhouse that has invested heavily in AI solutions and is partnering with D&H on AI PC systems, said he sees D&H’s ability to “move at the speed of business” on initiatives like the AI PC opportunity as a D&H differentiator.

Sterling sales reps gravitate to the distributor that provides the best service, said Van Ginkel, and in the laptop category that is D&H. “D&H excels at timely and accurate quotes,” he said. “And we have found them to be really good at execution.”

Chris Cyr, chief technology officer for Sterling, said he sees the new AI PCs sparking “new” AI solutions growth for Sterling, No. 57 on the CRN SP500 list.

“We think the AI PC is not only going to assist in the development of artificial intelligence in the enterprise, but it is also going to change the way that we use AI and how it reaches back to the data center,” he said.

Cyr sees an NPU resource land grab as AI PC makers move into the market. “It bodes well for the future of these devices and the investment the software makers are leveraging to invest it,” he said.

Schwab, for his part, said that while some distributors have tightened their belts implementing layoffs D&H remains “100 percent” partner focused.

“This is not an investment where we are looking for a return on this quarter or next quarter,” he said. “We wholeheartedly believe that putting our stake in the ground now is critical to ensure that D&H and our partners are ready for the wave of opportunity! That is why we added over $400 million in downstream credit for partners (on a rolling 12 month basis)…That is the largest ever credit increase in the history of D&H.”