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Co-Presidents Dan and Michael Schwab On How D&H Is AIMing High To Migrate Partners To MSP Model

Steven Burke

D&H Distributing Co-Presidents Dan and Michael Schwab say the company’s new AIM (Assess, Implement and Manage) methodology is designed to help partners migrate to the MSP model.

What impact is the wave of layoffs and belt-tightening that we see having on D&H?

Dan Schwab: Michael and I do an email to all of our D&H co-owners every week. We recently looked back to one of those emails we sent during the 2008- 2009 global financial crises. This is what Michael wrote then and we are actually now sending it out again 15 years later. What it show is the difference between D&H and the other publically owned or private equity owned businesses in our industry.

Here is what Michael wrote:

While many companies look in a tough economic environment to cut costs through payroll reductions or cutting benefits. It is our strong opinion that an organization is better off investing at a higher level in employees during more difficult economic times. A company is only as good as its weakest link. So if you have strong, motivated, energized employees who are well-trained and support company goals in the long run whether there is positive economic news in the headlines or not you have a much better chance of being successful.

Since Michael wrote that 15 years ago nothing has changed. That is still the philosophy of D&H today: invest in people. We don’t go through major reorganizations like publically held and private equity owned companies. We look at the economic headwinds and say this too shall pass and focus on how do we invest in the channel for long term success.

How important is the training you do for partners as you look at the economic landscape today?

Dan Schwab: This is where D&H is best in class in helping partners migrate their business. Within our business we have our SuccessPath training program. One of the key focus areas is helping partners migrate to become MSPs. We really help our partners through that process. Within that we have our AIM methodology which is Assess, Implement and Manage the IT environment.

So as partners are working on end users on opportunities, we are helping them as they go through an assessment to decide whether they are going to implement it or rely on third partners and how we could help them. Within that is the whole finance motion of the solution as well, where we work with them closely on the different finance models and how do we help them with cash flow.

Some people sell from just a technology standpoint. Our SuccessPath is really bifurcated. Half of it is for the owner of the business with business advice on how you evolve your business and the other half is more tactical advice on how you execute, implement and leverage new innovative technologies. That is an areas where D&H really stands out. And we customize that for each partner. For every partner we have customized conversations with support visits and executive touch points to help them with their migration to become an MSP.

How important is the Modern Solutions Business combined with SuccessPath and AIM to helping partners make this paradigm shift to the MSP model?

Dan Schwab: Our Modern Solutions Business unit account representative can sell partners everything from cloud to hardware to services to hybrid solutions. That means partners do not have to go to four or five people. So the natural evolution of that is AIM (Assess – Implement- Manage) to help our partners make the migration to become MSPs.

We first came up with this to help our partners come up with solutions. Then we had to do an even better job of helping them execute and do it more effectively than they could fine elsewhere.

With AIM we’re being much more proactive to help partners migrate their business to become MSPs. It’s a new framework that makes it easy for the partners to identify and attach services to their hardware and software. It completely changes the sales process. It is really a question of how they migrate to the MSP model. They have multiple options on on how they can execute and we help them with those decision trees they can go through so they can be successful.

Steven Burke

Steve Burke has been reporting on the technology industry and sales channel for over 30 years. He is passionate about the role of partners using technology to solve business problems and has spoken at conferences on channel sales issues. He can be reached at

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