Arrow's IBM Unit Touts Teaming

The distributor this week plans to launch an ISV portal where solution providers can search for applications. In addition, Arrow’s IBM Group, formerly Support Net, is working with an ISV on an end-user marketing campaign, the first time the distributor has embarked on a program targeted at solution providers’ customers.

Arrow’s IBM Group has signed a distribution agreement with SCImage as opposed to playing matchmaker between the ISV and solution providers as it has in the past. It’s the first vertical-focused ISV that Arrow’s IBM Group has signed, but others could follow if the SCImage deal is successful, said Eric Williams, executive vice president of the IBM Group of Arrow Enterprise Computing Solutions, at the distributor’s May Days conference last week in Indianapolis.

“We don’t do a lot of application software. We do horizontal, with IBM Software, Legato, Symantec/Veritas, but we see a combination of [horizontal and vertical developers] going forward, depending on the goals and objectives of the ISV,” Williams said.

The initiative likely will lead to future ISV marketing campaigns as Arrow looks to drive more hardware revenue through promoting vertical market solutions, Williams said. The ISV portal has about 12 companies listed, but Arrow hopes to increase that number to more than 50, Williams said.

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Solution providers at May Days said the ISV initiatives will fuel growth for Arrow, IBM and themselves.

Jeff Acton, vice president of sales at Alternative Technology Solutions, Orion, Mich., said generating demand at the end-user level makes sense.

“They’re not going after our existing customers. They’re only going after what we call ‘prospects,’ where we have a limited touch space,” Acton said. “We’re a small organization. It’s a matter of trust. If you trust them, there’s only upside for us.

“We have a health-care focus. We have customers in that space, but not necessarily in the same pillar of SCImage,” Acton said. “SCImage is sold more at the clinical level. We could introduce them to a [larger] health-care organization.”