25 Scenes From Synnex's VARnex Conference

The Power Of Partnership: Synnex VARnex 2011

Synnex held its VARnex 2011 Spring Conference under the banner "The Power of Partnership," April 10-12, at the Marriott Boston Copley Place, featuring inspiring keynotes, dozens of educational sessions, and a trip to historic Fenway Park for a Red Sox game.

VARnex Ring Toss

Synnex VARnex members got the party started with a series of "In It to Win It" competitions aimed at building camaraderie among the attendees. Here Julius Argumedo, president of Computer 1 Products of America, takes a turn at the ring toss with a VARnex attendee taking the term "conehead" literally.

Synnex In The House

Synnex's Angie Theodore, healthcare marketing and training development, and Elizabeth Warner, a product manager, take time out for a snapshot during the VARnex opening night reception.

And The 'In It To Win It' Winners Are ...

The VARnex "In It To Win It" champions whoop it up celebrating their big victory in the series of timed competitions.

Leveraging The Power Of VARnex

Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing for Synnex, urged solution providers to leverage the full power of the 250-member-strong VARnex community. As part of that effort, he urged VARnex members to update their Synnex partner profiles.

The Synnex IT Services Difference

Mike Brogan, president of Erb's Technology Solutions, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and the president of the VARnex Advisory Council, told VARnex attendees that it is Synnex's "tremendous investment" in services like managed print services (PRINTSolv) and OnDemand IT, a portfolio of services that supplements VAR offerings, that is the big differentiator for VARnex members. When it comes to IT services, Synnex "puts their money where their mouth is," said Brogan.

The HP 3Par 'Fat To Thin' Guarantee

Terry Richardson, director of strategy and alliances for HP's Americas Enterprise Storage business, told VARnex attendees that the $126 billion computer giant's 3Par "Fat To Thin" guarantee assures customers a minimum 50 percent reduction in storage capacity when deploying HP's 3Par technology. "HP guarantees it because of the thin provisioning advantages of 3Par," he said. "There's an awful lot of enthusiasm building in the channel for this product."


Microsoft's Cloud Computing Commitment

Microsoft Senior Director, Channel Strategy Marketing & Online Services Eric Martorano, who is leading the charge on Microsoft's Cloud Champions Club, urged VARnex members to step up to the cloud opportunity. "Are you prepared to lead in the cloud?" Martorano asked the 250 VARnex members. "Are you prepared to maximize the opportunity you have in front of you or are you going to look back five years from now and wonder what just happened," he said. Under Martorano's leadership, Microsoft has launched an all-out cloud offensive in the channel.

The Pursuit Of Happyness

Chris Gardner, the inspiration behind the extraordinary motion picture "The Pursuit of Happyness," brought VARnex attendees to tears with his incredible story of being homeless and raising his 14-month-old son Chris Jr. on the streets of San Francisco. Gardner, who was abandoned by his own father, was determined to break what he called his own family's "cycle" of men abandoning children. "I didn't know where my next meal was coming from, but I knew we were going to be together," he said of his homeless journey with his son. As an adult when asked what he remembered from that time of his life, Chris Jr. recalled: "All I remember is every time I looked up my father was there." That, Gardner said, "made my soul smile."


Synnex's CEO Raises The Bar

Synnex CEO Kevin Murai pledged that the distributor will continue to raise the bar by delivering game-changing services. He said Synnex will play a big role in helping VARnex members build cloud practices and provide a platform that will allow VARnex members to easily provision and deploy cloud solutions. Murai kicked off the Synnex cloud offensive by unveiling CloudSolv UC, a private branded unified communications cloud solution. "We are really investing in business tools that help you not only develop and enable your business but enhance your overall growth," said Murai.

The Synnex VARnex Difference

Murai said VARnex members posted an average 21 percent year-over-year sales growth. What's more, he said the 60 VARnex members who signed up for the distributor's healthcare initiative grew at an even faster clip. Murai said he would like to see 100 percent participation from VARnex members for the distributor's managed print services PrintSolv offering.

A Cloud Call To Action

Tiffani Bova, vice president, sales and channel strategies worldwide at Gartner, told VARnex members that the biggest roadblock to customer adoption of the cloud is the "inability" of solution providers to deliver cloud services. "You guys have to invest more to deliver the services customers want," she said. The danger for partners, she said, is vendors decide to forgo the channel and deliver the cloud services themselves because the channel is not moving quickly enough.

A Full HP Portfolio Call To Action

HP Vice President, Solution Partners Organization Stephen DiFranco told VARnex attendees that HP does not demand that partners sell only HP, but rather wants an "opportunity" to team with partners to present the full HP product portfolio. "There has been a lot of noise that HP wants you to sell only HP and nothing else," he said. "Of course, we want you to sell only HP and nothing else. That is what our job is. But it is not very likely to happen that way. You have got to sell what is best for your customer. All we ask -- and I want to be very clear about this -- is an opportunity to present the [HP product] line."

Lenovo Ups Its Channel Game

Chris Frey, North America channel chief for Lenovo, said the company has upped its channel funding by 30 percent and recruited 3,100 new partners. The company's hard-charging channel strategy has resulted in the highest growth rate in the industry for the past four quarters with double-digit sales gains in every region, said Frey. Lenovo has made a strategic decision to reinvest in partners rather than building out a huge infrastructure. "We want to put money back in your pockets to grow our business," he told VARnex attendees.

Synnex Shows Off RenewSolv

Chris De Vylder, vice president of strategic accounts at Synnex's Concentrix group, gave VARnex attendees a sneak preview of the distributor's RenewSolv platform, which is scheduled to be launched this summer. The online portal allows solution providers to keep track of software licensing, warranty renewals and subscription-based SaaS products from multiple vendors including HP, Symantec and Microsoft. Besides flagging any and all renewal opportunities on the horizon and giving partners the ability to instantly send renewal options for multiple products to customers, RenewSolv is set up to track all of a customer's hardware and software assets, opening the door for other sales opportunities.

Synnex Stands And Delivers For HP, EMC

Steve Jow, vice president of commercial sales at Synnex, said the distributor is moving into higher-margin enterprise offerings. He said that the distributor's HP enterprise business is up 264 percent with 32 VARnex members (12 percent of the VARnex membership) now selling HP enterprise products. Last year, those 32 members did $23 million in HP enterprise products, said Jow. As for EMC, Jow said there are now 60 VARnex members carrying the EMC product line. He said Synnex's EMC business, a relatively new vendor for Synnex, is up a whopping 2,000 percent.

A Synnex Smartphone Success Story

Jeffrey Bohlig, COO and principal of Compar, a Minnetonka, Minn., solution provider, shared his smartphone success story with VARnex attendees. Compar teamed with Synnex's smartphone/tablet application development group to develop an asset tag/service delivery application that allows the state of Minnesota to instantly send a picture via smartphone of asset-tagged hardware devices that need to be repaired. That smartphone-based service has reduced the time it takes Compar to respond to a customer services call on a warranty repair from two to four hours to just minutes.

Synnex To The Rescue

Steve Hentz, a Synnex technology whiz, took the power of partnership to a new level providing on-the-spot service for any VARnex members needing technical assistance. The wireless wonder even helped our own CRN editor fine-tune his laptop.

IT Services: A Fast-Growth Business

Peter Larocque, president, U.S. distribution for Synnex, told VARnex attendees that there is simply no better business to be in than IT services if you are focused on the right fast-growth opportunities. "The trends out there are great," said Larocque. "If you make the right bet there is no other industry where you can grow as fast."

A Vendor Executive Power Panel

Top vendor executives took on the tough questions during a vendor executive power panel and predicted strong growth in the SMB technology business for 2011. Left to right: Greg Lissy, Microsoft's SMB and online services group; Terry Richardson, director of strategy and alliances for HP's Americas Enterprise Storage business; Sammy Kinlaw, director of distribution for Lenovo; Erick Foy, Americas distribution channel, Symantec; Jason Romsey, director of SMB Americas for EMC, and Peter Larocque, president, U.S. distribution for Synnex.

Old Friends

Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing for Synnex, and Lester Keizer, chairman of Business Continuity Technologies, a Las Vegas solution provider, share some laughs and catch up on new technology happenings.

A Championship View On Branding Yourself

Don Yaeger, an award-winning New York Times best-selling author and inspirational speaker, delivered a one-hour power session on "Building & Maintaining Your Personal Brand" in the social networking era. Yaeger, who has penned more than 16 books on athletes and regularly speaks on "What Makes The Great Ones Great," gave partners a step-by-step guide on how to build your own personal brand. Yaeger's latest books: "Michael Oher, I Beat The Odds," co-authored with the football star made famous in the hit film "The Blind Side," and "Play Like You Mean It," co-authored with New York Jets football coach Rex Ryan.

All Smiles For Computer 1 And Synnex

Julius Argumedo, president of Computer 1 Products of America (left) is all smiles with Debbie Kocher, reseller marketing services manager at Synnex (center) and Nicole Coley, also of Computer 1.

A Synnex Home Run

Murai (center) closed out the conference with a trip to Boston's historic Fenway Park with more than 100 of his closest VARnex friends to watch the Boston Red Sox take on the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays may have beaten the Red Sox 3-2, but VARnex members agreed that Synnex hit a home run with the Spring 2011 edition of VARnex.

A Fenway Park Great Ones Moment

Steven Burke (left), Editor/News at CRN, shares an all-star moment at Fenway Park with "Great Ones" Don Yaeger (right), an inspirational speaker on "What Makes The Great Ones Great" and author of more than 16 sports-related books and Sonja Williams (center), director of marketing at Sports Trusted Speakers Bureau.

Exciting Plans For 2011

Synnex thanked VARnex members for a "terrific" 2010 and promised exciting new plans for 2011 including additional cloud services offerings and the formal launch of its RenewSolv software licensing, warranty renewal platform.