Avnet Launches Program To Augment Partners' Services Capabilities

Avnet Technology Solutions is implementing a new program under which it seeks to augment the services capabilities of its solution provider partners as a way to help them move into the professional services business without large upfront capital investments.

The company's new service development assessment program, which is being quietly launched to select solution providers, will give partners the ability to pick-and-choose which services they wish to engage with Avnet support, said Steve Kedzior, vice president and general manager of the company's datacenter life cycle services.

The new services program was introduced at the Avnet-Cisco Executive Summit partner meeting, held this week in Phoenix.

Avnet's data center lifecycle services program currently has about 95 different services offerings related to planning, acquiring products, integration, implementation, management, and asset disposal, Kedzior said.

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"Most VARs do some of these, but not all of them, or do different services in different geographies," he said. "We want to talk to them about their gaps and what we can do to augment them."

The primary obstacle for many solution providers looking to build or increase their services business is the high cost of getting ready to do so, Kedzior said. This includes the cost of finding the right engineers, getting them trained, and developing customers.

Another obstacle is the question of how to run a services practice, he said.

"A lot of VARs are hardware companies trying to build services," he said. "But this is a different business. The more legacy you have in hardware, the higher the investment needed to make to get into services. You have to look at things like how do you pay the hardware sales guy as more services are sold, how do you structure the business, and how to set up compensation for services."

Avnet's alternative for solution providers is to work with the distributor to augment their services with Avnet personnel and processes, Kedzior said. Avnet already has services processes and capabilities in place, and has personnel who can take the place of engineers which a solution provider may not be able to fully utilize as the services practice is being built, he said.

Solution providers could also use Avnet services capabilities to work with customers in geographies outside of where their own engineers might be profitably employed, he said.

Avnet can also help multiple solution providers share services resources, Kedzior said. "Say five VARs in a certain geography are looking at cloud services, and need cloud architects, but can't fully utilize such a person on their own," he said. "Maybe Avnet can acquire the architect and make him available to the VARs."

Avnet is taking a strategic approach to its service development assessment program by only approaching solution providers it feels can really take advantage of it, Kedzior said.

"This is not for every VAR," he said. "There's a significant investment that needs to be made by both sides."

Among the services included in the new program are asset disposal services based in part on Avnet's January acquisition of Canvas Systems.

In addition to some processes Avnet received from the acquisition which will be used across its existing asset disposal services practice which currently relies on third-party providers, Avnet also gets a geographical edge in the business, Kedzior said.

"Canvass will augment the partnerships we have," he said. "We're not changing our current partnerships because of the need to maintain our geographical footprint. This is a geo-centric offering. We don't want to ship 300 old servers from Atlanta to Los Angeles for disposal."