Access Splits Efforts

Under the plan, the Westminster, Colo.-based distributor has created a Mature Technologies division led by Mike Hurst, the new vice president of mature technologies, to oversee vendors with established channel programs in markets such as servers, storage, services and software.

Access Distribution also created an Emerging Technologies division, led by Scott Zahl, the new vice president of emerging technologies. The division will provide turnkey channel programs to vendors with up-and-coming technologies that have fast-growth potential, such as network security, VoIP, wireless technologies and network forensics.

Mike Thompson, president of Groupware Technology and Computing, a Campbell, Calif.-based Sun Microsystems solution provider, said Access' reorganization makes sense, noting that it's important for Sun's distributors to capitalize on new vendors and technologies.

"[They] need to get focused on emerging markets," he said at Access' annual New Frontiers Conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., last week.

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Vendors in both mature and emerging technologies often require different approaches in sales and support, said John Murphy, executive vice president of Advanced Systems Group, a Denver-based Sun solution provider.

"Emerging vendors don't have channel recognition," Murphy said. "Such a split [by Access] is very helpful to those vendors. For the channel, we get a ramp-up of qualified technical and sales support for such vendors from the distributors who can support them."

With separate sales and support for emerging technology, it's easier to incubate new vendors for the channel, said Scott Friedlander, executive vice president at GTSI, a Chantilly, Va.-based government reseller. And he should know: For the past five years, GTSI has split sales into new technology such as mobility solutions, network security and physical security, and mature product lines such as servers, storage and software.

"All these tie into different marketplaces," Friedlander said. "We make sure [they] all have their own presales and engineering expertise."

Access President and CEO Anna McDermott said the reorganization in part reflects the changing value proposition of distributors. "As we look at the supply chain, look at Gartner reports about how vendors want to do more direct, we saw the importance of being prepared to move our services to where we can do more value," she said.

Hurst said his Mature Technologies division and Zahl's Emerging Technologies division are separate businesses with their own profit/loss systems.

One factor behind the reorganization came from changes in vendor channel programs, especially from Sun, which now is emphasizing channel management over distribution skills and logistics, Hurst said.