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Avnet Creates Specialized Business Units To Drive Software Sales

Avnet is rolling out business units with dedicated staff around data center, cloud, security, analytics, mobility and education to accelerate growth of software-driven technologies.

Avnet is rolling out business units with dedicated staff around data center, cloud, security, analytics, mobility and education to accelerate growth of software-driven technologies.

The Phoenix-based distributor is familiarizing partners with consumption and subscription-based sales motions as the next generation of data center technology becomes increasingly software-driven, said Gavin Miller, vice president of marketing and strategy for Avnet's Technology Solutions division.

"Being an expert in the infrastructure technologies isn't enough anymore," Miller told CRN.

[RELATED: Partners Hope CEO Change at Avnet Will Supercharge Cloud Investment]

The six global business units will be supported by 450 solution specialists who previously had been working with partners on an ad hoc, rather than a dedicated, basis, according to Jeff Bawol, president of Avnet Technology Solutions' Americas region. Bawol told CRN the new structure will make it easier for Avnet to take the best regional practices around a specific technology area and spread them globally.

"As the industry continues to evolve and change, we know we need to offer more value to our partners," Bawol said. "We need to invest and focus the partners we have in this direction."

North American partners in the coming months will benefit from Avnet's network and data center security prowess in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), which Bawol said is a far more mature practice than Avnet has anywhere else in the world. Best practices will be extracted from Avnet's EMEA security practice, Bawol said, and brought over to the Americas.

Similarly, Bawol said Avnet is looking to replicate the success of its North American cloud business – which includes a Cloud Marketplace and dedicated support staff – in other parts of the world.

Work on Avnet's new business structure was already well under way by July 11, Bawol said, when Avnet announced that the immediate resignation of CEO Rick Hamada and appointment of ex-Lenovo CEO Bill Amelio as his interim successor. Since Amelio has been a member of Avnet's board of directors since 2014, he had already been briefed by Avnet Technology Solutions President Patrick Zammit on the new business units.

"This was not because of the CEO change," Bawol said. "It was in motion regardless of the change."

The new business units will have dedicated technical and sales support teams. They will specialize in: education solutions (EMEA and Americas only); data center solutions; cloud solutions; security and enterprise networking solutions; data analytics, cognitive computing and Internet of Things solutions; and mobility solutions.


Avnet's new approach will allow Flagship Solutions Group to deal with a single point person when crafting a solution that contains components from several different IBM silos, according to Mark Wyllie, CEO of the Boca Raton, Fla.-based Avnet partner. Previously, Wyllie said Flagship had to deal with separate hardware, software and services people at Avnet when attempting to craft a holistic solution.

"This will allow us to get proposals and solutions delivered to customers sooner and more completely," Wyllie told CRN.

Avnet's new business units align well with Flagship's heavy focus on infrastructure and analytics, Wyllie said, as well as its expertise around the data center, hybrid cloud, managed services and security.

"This is a very big step to move toward a cross-brand solution focus, which is how customers are buying," Wyllie said.

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