GTDC Summit North America Is ‘Must Attend’ Event For Channel Executives Looking For Competitive Edge

'With the pace of AI infusing the channel at every level, I am excited to interact with the distributors on how they are investing in their value to accelerate AI adoption,’ says AMD North America Channel Chief Mark Taylor. 'I’m looking forward to a great dialogue between the vendor community and the distribution community on AI adoption.'

The GTDC (Global Technology Distribution Council) Summit North America 2024 – which will be held February 7-8 at the Mission Pacific Beach Resort in Oceanside Calif.- is a “must attend” event for channel executives looking for a competitive edge, said top channel executives.

AMD North America Channel Chief Mark Taylor said he is “very excited” to attend the event to better understand how distribution can help drive AI infrastructure sales growth.

“With the pace of AI infusing the channel at every level, I am excited to interact with the distributors on how they are investing in their value to accelerate AI adoption,” he said. “I’m looking forward to a great dialogue between the vendor community and the distribution community on AI adoption.”

The GTDC summit comes with many end user customers looking to upgrade their infrastructure to support AI solutions, said Taylor. “Distribution classically has been in the middle of every wave of infrastructure modernization, they represent a fantastic opportunity to help us reach and educate the channel as customers go though this AI modernization,” he said.“Going into 2024 infrastructure matters more than ever before and I am thrilled and proud to represent a company that is innovating from cloud all the way to the client device on that infrastructure and its support of AI adoption everywhere.”

Taylor, a 30-year channel veteran who spent 25 years at distribution powerhouse Arrow Electronics, most recently as president of Arrow Electronics North America, said he sees GTDC playing a vital role unifying the view of how distribution can help drive growth back to the vendor community. “That is what is so exciting about ths event each year,” he said.

Among the highlights of the GTDC Summit 2024, whose members drive more than $150 billion in annual worldwide sales of technology products, services and solutions, are keynote presentations from Economist and former director of the Congressional Budget Office Douglas Holtz-Eakin and IDC President Crawford Del Prete. There will also be panel discussions with emerging technology vendors regarding Go To Market (GTM) strategy as well as a panel hosted by IDC discussing how AI will influence data use and consumption in the future. In addition, the GTDC is also hosting a Finance Forum at the event intended for vendor and distributor CFO’s to discuss and collaborate on how distributors can most effectively support GTM activities.

“Distribution is playing a bigger role for any SaaS company seeing more requirements for consumption based deals,” said Ken Marks, vice president of worldwide channels for SentinelOne, a software security channel powerhouse. “As customers move to multiyear deals and more creative consumption structures it is super important to work with distributors who know how to structure these deals so it is a win-win-win for the customer, the partner and the vendor. I see the GTDC Summit as a must attend event for any channel executive participating in SaaS based consumption interested in growing their partner base.”

Marks, who has helped power big channel sales growth at SentinelOne, said he sees the GTDC summit as a critical event to gain a competitive advantage with best practices for channel sales growth.

“I look at distribution as an extension of my team covering the long tail of the partners just like our channel business managers,” he said. “This is a chance for anyone building out a channel business to get an edge with regard to the programs the distributors have in place to help cover, educate and enable your partners.”

Marks said he sees GTDC helping to drive home the value of distribution as “the heart of a fully functioning” partner ecosystem.

“I look at distributors as solution aggregators,” he said. “To me, the biggest value add of distribution- which is more important than ever- is bringing together and aggregating solutions from multiple vendors to really solve the end user’s problem. That’s a big difference from the early days of the industry when distribution was inventorying products and doing pick, pack and ship. Distribution is more vital than ever because no one vendor – no matter what we like to think - has the complete solution.”

Anthony Mackle, senior vice president and chief financial officer, US and Latin America for Ingram Micro, said the introduction of the Finance Forum is a welcome addition to the GTDC event.

“Financing has always been part of the deal but it is now actually starting to drive the deal,” he said. “In the past it was always the CIO who was the decision maker. In today’s world it is a committee made up of the CEO, CFO, CIO and CTO. The customer has changed. The market is evolving and the customer is evolving.”

Ingram’s ability to put together custom financing solutions to make deals happen has become a critical factor in fueling MSP sales growth, said Mackle.

MSPs taking advantage of Ingram Micro financing solutions are growing at a 25 percent faster clip than those partners not taking advantage of what is often custom financing solutions for a deal, said Mackle.

Mackle said he sees the GTDC Summit as critical given that the organization has become an advocate for distributors, vendors and partners to drive sales growth. “The view the GTDC has on the entire channel is a breath of fresh air,” he said.

GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano, a 30-year-plus channel veteran who has held channel chief roles with top vendors including Dell, Juniper and IBM and also been a CEO of a solution provider, said the once-a-year GTDC Summit has become “the must attend” event for top distributor and channel executives to address critical issues aimed at driving sales growth for the coming year.

“GTDC Summit has become the event to to address what is key to driving sales growth looking at everything from economic outlook to market trends like AI and cybersecurity to key issues impacting go to market models,” he said. “It sets the tone for the year ahead, bringing the vendor and distributor community together in one place to communicate, collaborate and come up with new ways to drive sales growth.”

Vitagliano said he is particularly excited to add the Finance Forum as part of an effort to attract a broader set of executives from the vendor community to participate in the event.

“The traditional attendees of the event have come from the vendor channel side of the business,” he said. “With the move to a new era of broader channel ecosystems it is important for us to attract other members of the vendor community including top executives involved in finance, sales, marketing and product management. The Finance Forum this year is going to ensure the financial teams really understand the value distribution provides in the overall go to market model.”

Vitagliano stressed that while there are many players involved in the channel ecosystem that contribute to a solution only distribution has the ability to orchestrate the entire end-to-end solution.

“Distribution is really the orchestrator of the ecosystem with a relationship with the vendor and the solution provider so the solution is integrated and ready to go with a single bill for the customer,” he said. “Without distribution it would be significantly harder and much more expensive for all the companies in our business to go to market. A lot of people don’t understand all the pieces of the ecosystem that distribution brings together.”

Vitagliano said 2024 is shaping up to be a breakout year for the industry because of the rapid pace of innovation with AI, cloud and cybersecurity. “There is more innovation in the market than we have seen in a long time,” he said. “Distribution is key to bringing that innovation to market and accelerating that innovation. It’s really important that vendors and distribution collaborate and understand the role each one plays in helping partners adopt new and innovative technology solutions.”