What's The Right Role For Distributors?

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The role of distributors continues to grow in the channel, and channel chiefs say they fit right into their expanding business strategies.

"We use distribution a lot," said Cisco's Edison Peres. "We have about 13, 14 billion dollars that goes through our distribution partners around the world."

IBM's Tami Duncan praised distributors Avnet and Arrow, who she said aid IBM in "going deeper" into any vertical markets. "They help us tremendously."

VMware's Frank Rauch agreed that Avnet was a top distributor, among Tech Data and Ingram Micro. He said VMware currently uses distributors for their renewal business.

"When you need someone to handle that up-sell, cross-sell, pivot, the distributors are good at handling that," said Rauch. "They're really the feet on the ground."

Peres predicts that the role of distribution will expand with the world of cloud, and expects distributors to handle aggregated offers to customers, bundling solutions from various vendors.

"It's not going to come from one vendor; it's going to come from multiple vendors," Peres said.


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