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GTDC Distribution Summit North America 2023 Is A ‘Can’t-Miss’ Event

Steven Burke

“The beauty of this event is it gives vendor channel executives a chance to meet face to face in one place in a day and a half with the CEOs and top executives from distributors that deliver more than $160 billion in IT products and services,” said GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano . “The ability to engage with all these CEOs and their teams at this level is unique.”

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GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano

For the first time since the onset of the pandemic, top executives from Ingram Micro, TD Synnex, Arrow Electronics, D&H Distributing and others are set to huddle with leading vendor channel executives at the Global Technology Distribution Council’s (GTDC) Summit North America 2023 in San Diego from Feb. 8-10.

The event, which will take place at the Rancho Bernardo Inn, is a “can’t-miss” opportunity to hammer out growth strategies for 2023 working hand in hand with distributor CEOs and their executive teams, said GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano.

“The beauty of this event is it gives vendor channel executives a chance to meet face to face in one place in a day and a half with the CEOs and top executives from distributors that deliver more than $160 billion in IT products and services,” said Vitagliano, a channel icon who as a top channel executive for Dell Technologies, Juniper Networks and IBM attended the summit annually to discuss and plan distribution growth strategies. “The ability to engage with all these CEOs and their teams at this level is unique. It’s an opportunity to pull together distribution strategies with all the decision-makers in one place, saving three to six months of travel trying to meet with each executive separately.”

The annual summit, which is celebrating its 21st year, is especially compelling today given the return to a live format after three years of virtual events, said Vitagliano. “The ability to sit down, strategize and collaborate with all the major distributors in one place makes this a very compelling and powerful event for vendor executives,” he said.

Among the top executives participating in a GTDC “View From The Top” Summit panel session on what’s ahead for distribution are Ingram Micro CEO Paul Bay, TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume, Arrow Electronics President and CEO Sean Kerins and D&H Co-President Dan Schwab.

The GTDC event also includes top channel executives including AMD North America Channel Chief Terry Richardson, Veeam Software Vice President of Americas Alliance and Distribution Sales Dangvy Keller, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Global Worldwide Head of Partner Sales George Hope and Aruba Head of Worldwide Partners Donna Grothjan.

“This is on my calendar as the first in-person event of 2023 that I’ll get to spend time with such a high-quality group of CEOs and channel executives,” said Richardson. “The distribution channel is incredibly strategic to AMD. Having all those CEOs together in one place affords the opportunity for a lot of engagement and ongoing meetings. Most of my colleagues that work at the major vendors that are important to AMD partners will also be there. It’s really an intimate forum to see a lot of important and influential people over the span of a couple of days.”

Richardson said he is particularly looking forward to getting back together with top executives after the three-year hiatus from in-person events due to the pandemic. “I’m looking forward to getting back to more in-person meetings,” he said. “There is nothing like those in-person meetings to strengthen and move relationships forward. Virtual events are OK, but there is nothing better than spending quality time in person with our AMD channel partners. I’m looking forward to reconnecting with executives that we have not been able to see in person for some time.”

The top distributors are key to AMD’s growth both from an OEM perspective and as component suppliers and drivers of AMD’s cloud footprint, said Richardson. “The distributors give us broader partner reach as we expand our channel, helping us get to the midmarket customer segment that can really take advantage of AMD’s competitive differentiation,” he said.

For Veeam, the summit provides a critical opportunity to keep up to date with all the services distributors are providing to help the company drive partner sales growth, said Keller.

“Veeam is a huge channel-friendly and channel-first company, and at the heart of that channel go-to-market strategy are our distributors,” said Keller. “We do a ton of business through our distributors, and this allows us to stay up to date and in tune with everything that they are doing, including all the resources, support and value- added services they provide that help us in our go-to-market strategy every day.”

Keller, who has been an attendee of the GTDC event for 15 years, said she is looking forward to a return to a live event format with plenty of opportunities to network with colleagues and distribution executives. “We’re all excited to be attending the live event, seeing all the executives from our distributors and the manufacturers that work with distribution in one place. One of the great things about this event is the ability to network and share best practices and creative ideas.”

Keller said the GTDC Summit North America speaks to the importance of developing strong relationships with distribution partners and vendor executives. Many vendors are not aware of all of the resources available at distribution that can be leveraged to grow the business, she said. “You get a look at not only the macro economic trends, but also the ability to sit down with some of the key distribution executives and get in-depth knowledge of all the things they are doing so we can all succeed from a channel perspective,” she said.

The GTDC Summit North America will feature a keynote session on projecting the future of IT from Crawford Del Prete, president of IT market research powerhouse IDC, and an economic and fiscal policy outlook keynote from noted economist Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of The American Action Forum and former head of the Congressional Budget Office and The President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

In addition, there will be a CIO panel with a focus on creating the next-level customer experience and a global sustainability session on global environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, said Vitagliano.

Vitagliano will kick off the Summit with a keynote titled “Powering The Future of Technology,” highlighting how distributors are driving the next wave of technology services and products.

Vitagliano said he will also address how distributors rose to the pandemic challenge, providing the products and services that powered the work-from-home movement.

“It quickly became apparent during the pandemic how critical and important distributors were in term of keeping businesses up and running,” he said. “Throughout the entire pandemic, IT products and services continued to flow through distribution. In fact, the IT industry was not impacted to the extent that other industries were by the pandemic.”

Vitagliano will also highlight some of the big themes that the GTDC has delivered in a series of white papers and podcasts, including distribution as a recession countermeasure; the increasing need for trust and transparency with ESG initiatives; and investment trends in the IT industry.

Vitagliano said he sees the GTDC Summit as a means for vendor executives to start out 2023 by leveraging the scale and reach of distributors to grow sales. “This is an opportunity for vendors to gain insight into how to leverage the investments and enhancements made by distributors,” he said. “It’s all about driving growth with a focus on planning and engagement strategies for the coming year.”

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at sburke@thechannelcompany.com.

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