Avnet TS Emerging Channels Team Absorbed By Broader Sales Unit In Wake Of Tech Data Acquisition

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Tech Data has folded a standalone Avnet Technology Solutions business unit focusing on incubating next-generation channel partners into the combined company's broader sales organization.

Tech Data confirmed that Avnet TS's emerging channels client and partner recruiting team was dissolved Tuesday. The change came one day after Tech Data's $2.6 billion acquisition closed and less than two years after Avnet established the dedicated practice to gain a foothold with systems integrators, ISVs and born-in-the-cloud solution providers.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Tech Data CEO On Pricing, Line Card And Partner Program Changes Avnet TS Partners Should Expect]

Avnet TS actually found that traditional VARs were rapidly transforming their business from product resale to emerging technologies and needed much of the same support and resources as their newer channel counterparts, said  Jeff Bawol, Tech Data's senior vice president of enterprise solutions, Americas and former president of Avnet TS, Americas. 

"There are some great, great VAR partners that are of size and scope that can make this change as quickly as anyone," Bawol told CRN. "We thought, because of their bigness, they couldn't move quick. Boy, nothing is further from the truth. They're making the change."

Avnet TS's emerging channels unit employed 30, and all but two of the team members lost their jobs, according to a source familiar with the situation. Tech Data confirmed that since the deal was closed it has laid off just under three percent of the Avnet TS Americas employees.

Tech Data has said it plans to take out $100 million of costs from the company by February 2019, with much of the cuts focused on back office efficiencies. 

Any gaps created by the dissolution of the emerging channels team will be filled in large part by the distributor's recently launched specialized business units (SBUs), which focus on areas such as data center, cloud, security and analytics technology, Bawol said. Going forward, Bawol plans to have the SBUs take on a bigger role in recruiting partners in their area of expertise, which also include mobility, education, cognitive computing and the Internet of Things.

"That [SBU] team does a better job of recruiting and identifying new partners because they know what they need and they have historically come from that world," said Bawol, noting the company plans to bring on additional people for its SBU units. "We knew we needed focus to get that done from a specialist perspective, but it didn't have to be a separate [emerging channels] unit."

One Avnet partner who didn't wish to be identified said the emerging channels team funneled business to his company around vendor-specific cloud, security and mobile device management projects where he has unique expertise. This helped the partner land new clients who he continues to do additional business with on an ongoing basis. 

The emerging channels team has also helped get this partner into new verticals and connect his business with other solution providers in areas where the partner didn't have expertise.

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