Scenes From Avnet's Oracle/Sun Partner Summit 2010

Sun VARs Shine In Colorado

Avnet Technology Solutions hosted its 2010 Partner Summit for Oracle/Sun Microsystems solution providers outside Denver. Randy Wright, director of products and marketing for Avnet’s Sun Solutions group, hosted the event for more than 100 solution providers. Here’s a look at what happened at the show.

Sun Sales Rebound

Mike Hurst, Avnet’s vice president, global supplier business executive, focused on the distributor’s Oracle relationship worldwide, gave an impassioned address, noting that the distributor’s Oracle/Sun revenue grew last quarter for the first time in two years. Solution providers should invest in Oracle because the vendor is one of the top tech vendors in the industry, Hurst said.

’[Oracle CEO Larry Ellison] is the fighter you want in your corner. It’s not sufficient for Larry to win, he wants to make sure the other team loses,’ he said.

Channel Changes

Tom Wagner, Oracle group vice president of North America hardware alliances and channels, addressed changes in the company’s channel strategy, saying despite direct sales, the channel will play a vital role in the company’s future.

’Despite the fact we continue to invest in direct sales, the selling capacity required to [reach those accounts], we’d run out of cycles very quickly. That’s where you come in. Trust me, we need you desperately,’ Wagner said.

Group Effort

Oracle’s Jim Standard, group vice president of global channel sales, left, held a panel with colleagues (from left), Nick Kritikos, vice president of partner solution enablement; Paul Tatum, vice president of sales consulting, public sector hardware, and Greg Calhoun, group vice president of enterprise sales in commercial hardware. The group reiterated that Oracle will rely on partners to serve customers.

’Oracle cannot deliver [by itself]. There’s plenty of opportunity in that space. There’s tens of thousands of accounts that we don’t scale to and will never be able to scale to,’ Calhoun said.

Staying Relevant

Jeff Bawol, president of Avnet Technology Solutions, Americas, told VARs that it’s important to evolve their businesses with the right technology and right solutions to solve customers’ business problems.

’It’s no longer good enough just to sell products. Today, customers are looking for solutions to business problems. Just like in our health care practice, when we help VARs sell into health care, whether it’s a billing center or a doctor’s office or a hospital, it’s more about how you sell,’ Bawol said.

’Ask a doctor if he needs more storage or ask the head of nursing if she needs a faster computer and they’ll have no idea. But they could tell you about the problems they’re experiencing which allows you to craft a solution that usually involves IT and two or three different products that incorporate that solution.’

Data Center Opportunity

David Lawler, vice president of UCS product management in Cisco Systems’ server access virtualization group, told VARs that the data center revolution now underway is a once-in-a-decade opportunity for solution providers.

’The technologies you understand, but the mindset is changing. If you stick to the old technology, you’ll turn this into a volume play,’ he said. ’Virtualization is changing the way people think.’

Top Server Partner

Avnet handed out its first-ever partner awards at the show, including Server Partner of the Year to FusionStorm. FusionStorm president Dan Serpico, center, is surrounded by Avnet’s Mike Hurst and Randy Wright. The VAR’s server revenue nearly tripled compared to the previous year, said Wright. Other nominees were ACS, Continental Resources, Groupware and World Wide Technology.

Top Storage Partner

Alliance Technology captured the top storage partner award. Terry Slack, vice president of the Midwest Division and another executive, center, accepted the award.

’They invested heavily and saw their storage business grow 82 percent,’ Wright said.

Other nominees in the storage category were: ACS, FusionStorm, Groupware and Technologent.

Top Service Partner

Avnet’s service partner of the year went to ASG, which managed double-digit services sales growth ’in a year where services had challenges since change of control,’ Wright said.

ASG’s president, David Sosnowski, president, center, accepted the award.

Other nominees were: ACS, Contintenal Resources, Technologent and The Ergonomic Group.

Top Hitachi Partner

Continental Resources grew its Hitachi business by more than 40 percent to capture the Hitachi partner award from Avnet. At center, accepting the award for Continental’s COO, Kevin McCann.

Other nominees were AE Business Solutions, Alliance Technology, FusionStorm and ICP.

Top Symantec Partner

HighVail Systems captured the top Symantec partner award after a year in which the solution provider grew its business 380 percent with the security vendor.

HighVail Systems’ president Bradley Brodkin (second from left) and Krys Armatys, vice president (second from right), accept the award.

Other nominees were Creative Breakthroughs, dcVAST, Forsythe Solutions and FusionStorm.

Top Growth Partner Award

Groupware won the award for top growth partner and has also won CRN’s Fast Growth award in the past too.

’In a challenging economy, they had the foresight to invest and grow their business,’ Wright said.

Mike Thompson, CEO of Groupware, (center) accepted the award. Other nominees were Alliance Technology, ASG, FusionStorm and Technologent.

Top Public Sector Partner

World Wide Technology won the public sector award for ’not only driving federal business, but making tremendous strides in state and local as well,’ said Avnet’s Wright, right.

At center, Avnet’s Jo Boncek, a client executive that works with World Wide, accepts the award on behalf of the VAR, who had to leave early.

Other nominees were Alliance Technology, CDW, Continental Resources, Force 3.

In another category, Logicalis won the Top Software Partner Award but was not on hand to accept the award. Cintra Software and Services, Enkitec, LCN Technology and Miro Consulting were other nominees in the software category.

Top Health Care Partner

Avnet presented the Health Care partner award to Marco Mohajer, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Technologent (center).

’Technologent invested in health care and sent several sales reps to HealthPath University,’ said Avnet’s Wright. Other nominees were Alliance Technology, LCN Technology, Regan Technologies and The Ergonomic Group.

Partner Of The Year

After being nominated in five categories and winning the storage partner award, it was no surprise when Alliance Technology captured the Partner of the Year award. Terry Slack, vice president of the Midwest Division and another executive, center, accepted the award from Avnet’s Hurst and Wright.

Other nominees were ACS, FusionStorm, Groupware and Technologent.

Time For Golf

Solution providers got to take in some golf in the high altitude of Colorado before the event started. Here, Zander Nicholson of Avnet Technology Solutions, left, poses with Doris Block-Tomlinson of Rave Computer and Bruce Enright of Tallgrass Technologies.

Networking Session

John Murphy of ASG and Mark Reed of ECG, chat at the opening night reception at the Omni Interlocken Resort outside Denver.

At The Station

Jim Carter of dcVAST and Avnet Technology Solutions’ Sue Kloman show their whereabouts at SolutionsPath Station during the opening night reception.

'Dezzi' Makes It

Throughout the conference a ’solution provider’ named Dezzi kept breaking into the video feed to detail his misadventures trying to travel to the conference. Finally, ’Dezzi’ made it only to find out that he didn’t receive an award after all. Still, he decided to give an Apple iPad away to a solution provider who joined Avnet’s social media feeds on Facebook and Twitter.