Tech Data Tools Enable Government Sales

"A lot of the enhancements we are making to our overall government program have been focused on our TechSelect partners," said Erich Ohngemach, Tech Data's director of government field sales. TechSelect companies are typically small and midsize solution providers serving customers ranging from the home office to the enterprise.

Among the enhancements, Tech Data added a partner-locator tool to the TechSelect Web site, he said. Using the tool, solution providers that work with the government can enter information about their areas of expertise and any federal classifications they may hold, such as the 8(a) designation.

The U.S. Small Business Administration created the 8(a) program in 1974 to help small or disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) get a share of government sales. Large federal contractors by law must farm out,or set aside,a certain percentage of their work to these companies, which serve as subcontractors.

Another program slated to be unveiled later this year will help federal systems integrators meet those SDB set-aside requirements, Ohngemach said. "A lot of the federal systems integrators have a difficult time...qualifying the right SDB to go out and support their relationship," he said.

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Still under development is a GSA partner locator, which Ohngemach said would likely be ready this fall. The locator will let Tech Data resellers find their peers that hold the GSA schedule, which allows them to sell IT hardware, software and services to the government.

Terry Castro, co-owner and vice president of sales at American Data, a Tampa, Fla.-based solution provider with about 15 employees, said membership in TechSelect has helped her company grow to the tune of $21 million in 2002 revenue.

Tech Data is largely responsible for helping American Data establish its relationship with Raytheon, a large defense contractor, Castro said. To sell to the government, "you have to have every advantage you can, if it means additional technical support or better pricing," she said.