Synnex Seeks To Ride Dell Distribution Wave With Client, Enterprise Offerings

As a private Dell cranks up its channel drive, distributor Synnex sees opportunity.

"Dell's portfolio drives demand," said Bob Stegner, Synnex's senior vice president of North America marketing, via email. And that's something Synnex can't ignore, he said.

Stegner said Synnex is doubling down on Dell, adding PCs, enterprise hardware and software, and Wyse virtual desktop solutions to its Dell portfolio as the Round Rock, Texas, vendor looks to greatly expand its distribution network.

Since Dell went private in October 2013, Stegner said the company has been more open to feedback from Synnex and its customers, resulting in more collaboration between the two.

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"Dell's focus wasn't on distribution before, but now they are looking to us to help strengthen their approach," Stegner said.

Dell has grown its distribution revenue by 50 percent over the past year, according to Cheryl Cook, Dell's vice president of global channel alliances, and is looking to make more enterprise, storage and networking offerings available through its distributor partners.

Dell Vice President of Channel Sales Frank Vitagliano told CRN that Dell does less than 20 percent of its channel business through distribution, roughly the inverse of the rest of the industry. The company, therefore, sees opportunities to grow its distribution practice, Vitagliano said.

Stegner said Dell is looking to use distribution to better serve existing partners by allowing them to scale more broadly than before.

Marius Haas, Dell's chief commercial officer and president of Enterprise Solutions, told CRN the primary value of distribution is accessing a solution provider network that it isn't reaching today. With the help of Tech Data, Ingram Micro and Synnex -- Dell's core distribution partners -- Dell expects to be able to reach the entire solution provider ecosystem, according to Haas.

Synnex now offers several new Dell products including servers, storage, networking, converged infrastructure and software, according to the Fremont, Calif.-based distributor.

NEXT: The Benefits of Going Through Synnex

Dell is looking to expand the number of enterprise product sets going through distribution and is considering using distribution for offerings such as a diskless server, which would allow channel partners to do the configuring, said Cook.

Solution providers also have indicated they would like Dell to make it easier to create custom configurations through distribution, something Stegner said Synnex has the flexibility to do.

Cook said Dell is also investing in ways to automate and streamline ordering through distribution.

By going through Synnex rather than using Dell PartnerDirect, Stegner said solution providers can get products more quickly to customers thanks to Synnex's network of warehouses stocked with Dell's enterprise portfolio. Products procured through Synnex can be delivered as early as the next day vs. being built at the time of order placement, according to the distributor.

Synnex also offers channel partners configuration capabilities, pre-sales assistance, warranty renewals to sell to customers, and demo environments to test products in before bringing them to end users, Stegner said.

By relying on Synnex for configuration, the distributor said solution providers can free up time for their own technical personnel to focus on customer visits and larger opportunities.

Nicole Heisler, general manager of Dell partner Foundation Technologies, based Greenville, S.C., hopes that Synnex can provide more expertise and competitive pricing on Dell products. She said Synnex typically beats the prices Foundation Technologies can get from going directly to OEMs.

As for Dell partners attending Dell World 2014, they expressed enthusiasm over Dell's distribution drive -- be it via Synnex or others. They said distribution cuts down on response times for system quotes and sometimes beat Dell's PartnerDirect when it comes to shipping pre-configured hardware kept in stock by distribution partners.

Heisler, however, doesn't think Dell's push will make a big difference for Foundation Technologies' customers since they have exhibited significant brand loyalty for PCs and servers.

Although Foundation Technologies’ customers are more willing to consider multiple vendors for network equipment, Heisler for the most part doesn't expect her Lenovo customers to transition over to Dell.

"Once they make the switch to Lenovo," Heisler said, "they're so happy that that's it."

TOM SPRING contributed to this story.