7 Things To Watch For Once The Tech Data-Avnet TS Deal Closes

What Changes Are Coming Down The Pike?

Tech Data and Avnet solution providers can expect to receive a major shot in the arm around business practices ranging from cloud and security to e-business and preferred partner programs once the $2.6 billion acquisition closes in the first half of 2017.

CRN spoke with business unit leaders and other key Tech Data executives around what unique or differentiated capabilities each distributor brings in several key practice areas.

Tech Data's proposal to purchase Avnet's $9.65 billion Technology Solutions business will create a distribution powerhouse with both value and volume expertise and customers ranging from large enterprises to mom-and-pop shops.

Here are seven key enhancements Tech Data and Avnet partners can count on once the mega-deal is completed.

7. Tech Data Will Have Better Reach In Enterprise, And Avnet Will Have Better Reach In SMB

Phoenix-based Avnet and Tech Data, Clearwater, Fla., have operated value businesses in North America for at least a decade, but the two distributors have very different routes to market, according to Joe Quaglia, Tech Data's president for the Americas.

Avnet's North American practice has been focused for decades on enterprise customers and customers at the top of the midmarket, Quaglia told CRN.

Tech Data's value business, meanwhile, has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past 10 years by focusing on helping the vendor community gain access to SMB and midmarket channel partners, Quaglia said.

The combined company will be able to extend the skill sets and capabilities of each go-to-market approach to all partners, Quaglia said.

6. Avnet Resellers Will Have Access To An Exclusive Partner Community

Like its broadline distribution counterparts Ingram Micro and Synnex, Tech Data offers its top solution providers access to an exclusive partner community – TechSelect – with special training, marketing and networking support.

Avnet comes from the specialty distribution space, and its elite partners don't have access to anything like TechSelect today, said Kaye McMillan, Tech Data's director of sales planning and TechSelect.

"It will be something of a value-add to those customers as well, to have access to the [TechSelect] community and the things that we're doing here," McMillan told CRN.

Current TechSelect members also see the acquisition as a "win-win" since it will provide access to new product lines and resources, said Marty Andrefski, president of the TechSelect Advisory Council.

5. Avnet Partners Can Tap Into A Best-in-Class E-Business Platform

Tech Data is confident that its website and e-business platform are the best in the channel, and the distributor is excited to share that experience with Avnet's legacy partners, according to Ryan McKenzie, manager of e-business for Tech Data.

"There aren't any tools or features that one site has that we don't have. We have all of them," McKenzie said. "And what we see is a lot of competitors trying to catch up to what we deliver."

The acquisition will also create more opportunity for Tech Data's e-business practice by bringing more eyeballs to its website and exposing the distributor to more potential partners, McKenzie said.

"The enterprise business is ultimately where we're going to spend more time," said David Spindler, director of e-business for Tech Data.

4. Tech Data Partners Will Have Access To Avnet's Cloud Infrastructure Capabilities

Although Tech Data has been organically growing its Infrastructure-as-a-Service category as of late, Avnet has longstanding knowledge and investment around cloud infrastructure, according to Stacy Nethercoat, vice president of Tech Data Cloud for the Americas.

"As I look at Avnet's cloud strategy and where they've made their investments, I find them very complementary to Tech Data with very little overlap," Nethercoat told CRN. "And that's super-exciting for me."

3. Avnet Partners Can Leverage Tech Data's Software-as-a-Service Offering

Tech Data has long had a very robust Software-as-a-Service offering, a space in which Nethercoat said Avnet's offerings today are relatively limited.

"The maturity of our Software-as-a-Service offering is significantly more evolved than our infrastructure offering," Nethercoat said. "We both bring strengths to the table that our partners will see the benefit from."

2. Avnet Partners Will Have Better Access To Vendors Such As Symantec And Intel Security

Tech Data has a strong and robust security line card, particularly around SMB and midmarket solutions, according to Tracy Holtz, the distributor's director of product marketing, security and information management.

Tech Data will be able to bring new relationships or greatly strengthen existing ties with companies such as Symantec, Intel Security, Novell and NetIQ, Holtz said.

Tech Data will also bring incremental value to existing Avnet partners around Trend Micro, Holtz said, and provide enhanced SMB and midmarket capabilities for Check Point Software Technologies.

"We're a perfect complement to one another," Holtz said.

1. Tech Data Partners Can Beef Up Their Professional Security Services Through Avnet

Avnet will be able to provide more strength around professional services in the security space such as vulnerability assessments and implementation services, Holtz said. This will complement and add more scale to Tech Data's existing security service capabilities provided through STG, Holtz said, which Tech Data acquired in May 2015.

Tech Data today offers security health checks and assessments through vendors such as Fortinet and Cisco Systems, Holtz said. She hopes bringing Avnet on board will allow Tech Data to augment those capabilities on a more vendor-agnostic basis across its entire security practice.

Avnet will also bring new or stronger relationships to Tech Data partners around RSA Security and F5 Networks, Holtz said. Tech Data partner Novacoast, No. 316 on the 2016 CRN Solution Provider 500, previously used other distributors to procure RSA and F5, said Director of Inside Sales Rich Cox.

"It gives us an easier one-stop shop," Cox said.