TechSelect 2019 Conference: Tech Data And Partners Seeing Dramatic Business Growth

Tech Data will be investing in its TechSelect community of 400-plus solution providers in such areas as IoT and analytics, cloud and security as the distributor looks to the community for continued growth, says Marty Bauerlein, senior vice president of North America sales.


Tech Data and its TechSelect community of solution providers are seeing strength in a strong IT market that shows no sign of slowing down.

That's the word from Marty Bauerlein, senior vice president of North America sales for the Clearwater, Fla.-based distributor, to the 20 vendors and about 200 solution providers attending this week's Tech Data TechSelect 2019 conference in San Diego.

Bauerlein said during the event's opening keynote that Tech Data has the "brag numbers" that tell a story of how successful it and its channel partners have been in the past year or so.

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For the distributor's fiscal year 2019, its reported revenue of $37 billion makes it No. 83 on the Fortune 100 list of companies, as well as the largest company in Florida where it just displaced that state's former top company, Publix Super Markets, he said.

The company is partnering with about 1,000 vendors across 100 countries worldwide, and 300 vendors in the U.S., to reach about 125,000 channel partners worldwide, Bauerlein said.

He also noted that about 60 percent of Tech Data's 14,000-plus employees are actually in customer-facing roles, and that the distributor has enjoyed 20-plus percent growth in SMB sales for 14 straight quarters in the U.S.

"These are the numbers I'm most proud of," he said.

Tech Data as a result has gained about 5 points of market share in the past five years, he said.

About 43 percent of Tech Data's business, or about $16 billion in sales, go through the company's North America-based channel partners, Bauerlein said. That adds up to about $84 million in sales per day, or $175,000 per minute.

"We are so focused on execution and being an execution machine," he said. "But we are also so focused on our customers."

Tech Data's success stems from a four-pillar strategy, Bauerlein said.

The first pillar is "Invest," which includes focuses in hybrid cloud, data analytics and IoT, security and services, he said.

The second is "Strengthen," which includes continually building its customer and vendor portfolios, building its solution portfolios and adding new consumption models.

The third is "Transform," which Bauerlein said included new process design capability, increased automation, more advanced analytics and better user interfaces.

The fourth, "Optimize," includes a focus on increasing the efficiency of its global services, support, footprint and business optimization activities, he said.

Continually acting on those four pillars helps ensure Tech Data does not become complacent, Bauerlein said. "[And] I don't what it to happen to you guys either," he said to partners.

New transformation activities at Tech Data are geared toward making Tech Data and its channel partners more efficient, Bauerlein said.

The distributor has recently established a business process outsourcing (BPO) team to redesign the company's processes, and is looking to increase the automation of its processes including automated quotes, he said.

"It's all for us to be fast, to get speed in the market," he said.

Tech Data this year is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the founding of its TechSelect community, which currently numbers about 430 members, Bauerlein said.

It's a number that Tech Data and its TechSelect community like to see remain stable, he said. In 2018 and 2019, the community accepted 49 new members, and rejected the applications of 30 partners, he said. "We're very selective about who's in our community," he said.

For 2019, a big new initiative for the TechSelect community is the expansion of its Practice Builder program, which combines specialized solutions and services with marketing support for modern IT activities around such areas as IoT and analytics, cloud and security, Bauerlein said.

The company this year will offer 15 two-day meetings across the country, this year with a focus on IoT and analytics, he said.

"You're going to come out of these with a business plan," he said. "We'll have a rep assigned to you. You're going to get a sales plan, a marketing plan. And we'll make sure we have a consultant assigned to you."

Tom Johnson, director of strategic development at BCS CallProcessing, said the Rockland, Mass.-based IT service provider has just joined TechSelect as an opportunity to meet with a small group of people form different parts of the country to share ideas about how to run their businesses.

Being part of TechSelect will hopefully make it easier to see how Tech Data is investing to help its partners grow nationally, Johnson said. "We want new ideas, new relationships, and more resources, either individual partners we can partner with in different parts of the country or resources that Tech Data can bring to our support."

Karen Meszaros, president of Global On-Line Computers, said that the San Antonio-based solution provider and MSP has been a TechSelect member for almost 15 years, and that the support she gets from the community has been a huge part of its growth.

"Our company went from a small mom-and-pop shop to an actual big business from everything we've learned from TechSelect," Meszaros told CRN. "There's been a lot of education, not only on products, but how to run our business. And that's where we got the most return from this program. It's been very beneficial for us."

The past year has seen TechSelect continue to help Global On-Line Computers understand what is happening in the market and how to grow its business in response, Meszaros said.

"We're learning the newer types of technologies, including everything related to recurring revenue and something-as-a-service," she said. "We're using that support to change from break-fix to managed service to selling recurring services," she said.

TechSelect brings everything needed to the table for partners, Meszaros said. "They show us what's out there," she said. "They get us with the vendors, they get us with the manufacturers, at these kind of meetings. On our own, we probably wouldn't be spending all this time trying to figure it out."