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TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume: ‘The Market Still Continues To Show Great Prospects’

Joseph F. Kovar

‘There’s strength right now in servers and storage and networking and everything data center. But for the foreseeable future, it is around cybersecurity, IoT and analytics, and cloud-based technologies. All of these things offer great opportunities as we move into the future,’ says TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume.

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For all the talk about recession and macroeconomic headwinds, the IT industry remains one of the best industries to be in.

That’s the word from TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume to members of the distributor’s Varnex and Tech Select partner communities who this week are attending the TD Synnex CommunitySolv conference in Orlando, Fla.

The IT industry in 2022 has not had the same growth attributes seen in 2021, Hume said.

[Related: TD Synnex CEO Rich Hume: Growth Despite Supply Chain, Talent Shortage]

“But when the books are written, it will show that 2022 was a great year again in the IT industry, with some shorts and longs by technology group, but overall a very strong year,” he said.

Investors, however, would rather talk about what will happen in 2023, Hume said.

“We all know of the headwinds, if you will,” he said. “I was in a presentation not so long ago where the theme of the discussion was living in a ‘perma-crisis.’ It feels like we’re almost in that stage with all of the different events that we’ve been through. Obviously, when we think ahead to 2023, we’re talking about inflation. We’re talking about higher interest rates. We‘re talking about recessionary times. We’re talking about challenges in the entire market.”

However, TD Synnex, in a survey of its solution provider customers to be released soon, found the channel to be much more optimistic, Hume said.

”The market still continues to show great prospects. … Globally, 80 percent of you or thereabout say that 2023 will be a growth year for you,” he said.

In the IT industry, as in life, the best defense is a great offense, meaning that there are growth opportunities that can be exploited by solution providers not only now but in the next decade, Hume said.

“There’s strength right now in servers and storage and networking and everything data center,” he said. “But for the foreseeable future, it is around cybersecurity, IoT and analytics, and cloud-based technologies. All of these things offer great opportunities as we move into the future. And so this whole idea that you hear many times—take advantage of challenging times—I think that really means making investments now to be able to participate when the market actually returns to a very robust state.”

Solution providers have built an incredibly dynamic ecosystem over the past 50 years that is able to do things like face a great unknown like the COVID-19 pandemic and make the necessary adjustments to thrive and grow in that environment, Hume said.

“At the very beginning, no one knew what to expect,” he said. “And in fact, as we ventured into the period, it started with the vendors saying, ‘Hey, since we’re in more uncertain times, we’re going to extend more credit.’ And then obviously, everybody in the entire ecosystem made adjustments for us to be successful.”

That dynamic, agile ecosystem knows how to move to where opportunities exist, Hume said.

“In fact, back to our survey, approximately 70 percent of you have stated that as you look forward, you’re going to be leveraging the ecosystem more frequently in all of your business interactions, which I think is an incredible opportunity,” he said.

Regardless of all the ups and downs partners experience in the IT industry, it is important to keep one’s eye on the long term, Hume said.

“We have the benefit of being in an industry that continually outgrows GDP,” he said. “And it has been that way for decades. It offers great opportunity, although there might be ebbs and flows. The long-term opportunity for the IT industry is like none other.”

In the end, Hume said, he reminds himself every day that everyone in the channel are all privileged to work in IT, which has prospered in a way no other industry has ever done.

“There’s no other industry that’s brought value to the world as IT and technology has,” he said. “So I consider myself very fortunate to work within that construct. But most importantly, in order to have success for the world in the IT industry, it’s partnering with all of you helping to deliver the solutions that you bring to your customers to bring that value to the market. I think you should all kind of reflect on that and be very proud of what you’ve accomplished.”

Everyone is interested in understanding what may happen to IT in the future, and Hume managed to spell out his ideas in a clear way, said Dustin Wood, senior field executive at MicroAge, a Phoenix-based solution provider working with TD Synnex.

“I think it’s on everyone’s mind,” Wood told CRN. “And like he said, you don’t know what to expect. But there is a range that you can kind look at. And there’s a lot of factors that fall into that. So that really hit home. And I just thought he had a lot of great points about coming into this next year with a little uncertainty in certain ways.”

However, Wood said, he appreciated Hume’s optimistic outlook on the IT industry.

“His pointing out how IT really is outpacing the rest of GDP was a big thing,” he said. “And it really makes you realize, even when you look back in the last two years, it was actually a lot better than what maybe you thought it was going to be. And with times changing the way they are, and with all that digital transformation going on, as long as you’re not getting behind the eightball, that all plays into our businesses in a positive way.”

Joseph F. Kovar

Joseph F. Kovar is a senior editor and reporter for the storage and the non-tech-focused channel beats for CRN. He keeps readers abreast of the latest issues related to such areas as data life-cycle, business continuity and disaster recovery, and data centers, along with related services and software, while highlighting some of the key trends that impact the IT channel overall. He can be reached at jkovar@thechannelcompany.com.

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