Arrow ECS Creates Business Unit For Professional Services

"We currently have four areas of practices: education, support, consulting and the latest is managed services and cloud computing.

"This is a direct response to our resellers who basically requested that our portfolio becoming more services oriented and supplement their quest to make services bigger," said Joe Burke, vice president of worldwide services for Arrow ECS and a longtime channel veteran charged with leading the new business unit.

Arrow has offered services for several years, often adding to its portfolio, but in a separate business unit, the distributor can better market and formalize the offerings, Burke said. "The last time we launched a business unit, for storage, was in 2002. We've gotten enough traction, enough work, that it needs to be a separate unit," he said.

As for the services themselves, Arrow sees opportunity in each area, Burke said. "For North America, the total available market is absolutely gigantic," he said.

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Arrow is authorized by VMware, Microsoft, Novell and other vendors to give education classes to VARs and end users.

"I see that as an area that can absolutely grow. As technology gets more complex, the education that surrounds it is more necessary," Burke said.

In the support segment, Arrow supports multiple vendors as a first-line call and can also handle incidents from inception to solution, Burke said.

Perhaps the biggest green field is in managed services and cloud computing, Burke said.

"There is a fundamental shift in how IT capability is procured and consumed. Our mission is to connect technology with customers and we're trying to get into that stream as value-added player not a broker," Burke said. "The rest of it, there's such a big space and it's fragmented with big opportunity for growth in each of those areas."

Resellers can augment or outsource assistance to customers when their resources are tapped or while they are building their expertise in these areas. For instance, Arrow ECS provides supplier-authorized training, onsite security assessments, engineering services and 24-hour technical support for both resellers and their customers.

Arrow leverages its own bench for a lot of the services, but it also uses a network of third-party service providers across the country when necessary, Burke said. None of those companies compete with VARs, he added.

"Our philosophy is we do not use a VAR to service a VAR. It's not a fox in the hen house. The reseller is still contracting with us. We may sub it out, but we are ultimately responsible," he said.