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D&H Distributing’s Dan Schwab On Cloud Growth, New Services And The Rise In Competition From Private Equity

‘It seems like in a lot of ways we are the last man standing. We know private equity’s model is to dramatically cut costs, and then in five to seven years … sell it, take it public, what have you. We just have a very different philosophy,’ says D&H Co-president Dan Schwab.

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Can you tell me a little about what you anticipate about growth in cloud in 2021 at D&H? Are you anticipating more vendors, higher MSP adoption?

We expect it to double again this year. We doubled it last year. We actually grew it 144 percent. We’ll be up 100 percent again this year, is what we anticipate. It’s twofold. It is breadth and depth. From a breadth standpoint almost all of our partners have a cloud practice and they’re engaging with us. From a depth standpoint, it is adding more of those technologies to those VAR and MSP offerings. Whether it be security as a service, or unified communications. So, as we add more vendors, we are helping partners broaden their portfolio adding more options for their end users.

Different than maybe other distributors, we’re not enterprise focused. We’re SMB. And based on that we’re aligning with vendors that have solutions, specifically built for SMB.

Our goal is not to be everything to everybody and to have hundreds of vendors. Other people have done that and I think it’s very confusing to our reseller and partners. Our goal is to have best in breed. How do we have the best couple vendors by technology, so that we have the knowledge base, and we can hone our service levels to the highest degree for those partners of ours? We will still add another dozen key partners this year, but we’re not looking at dozens and dozens. We’re looking to round out our assortment and not dilute our focus with our key partners.

How do you judge a line card addition for cloud? It seems like you are aiming for more of a curated experience.

It really is a curated experience. We are not the supermarket. Some distributors want to offer everything and that is not us. Our model is to have a couple of vendors in each technology, and then through our consultative style with our partners, really identify what makes the most sense for their business. And that really is where we’ve had the most success. It’s so consultative in nature that it’s not ’Here’s our offering pick and choose from a line card.’ It’s walking them through the pros and cons of different scenarios, different models. What is the best fit for them? What is the best fit for their end users because ultimately that’s what drives our decision making is, it should be from the end user. And then we then can coach our partners on where to lean in. And by doing that, we have incredible internal expertise. We’re basically the extension of our vendor partners sales force. We want to be as knowledgeable as they are to deliver these technologies.

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