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GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano On The Value Of Modern Distribution And The Opportunity Ahead

Frank Vitagliano -- former channel exec at IBM, Juniper Networks, and Dell EMC and former president of solution provider Computex -- is bringing his experience to the Global Technology Distribution Council to help shape the new future of distribution.

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Who is GTDC targeting now? 

We really play to three constituents. The first and most important is the vendor community. Having spent a lot of years in the vendor community, I can tell you that, while vendors clearly use distribution to get product and services to market, they certainly don't always understand the value that distribution provides. In a lot of cases, that value just isn't understood. And that's not only with legacy vendors, but it's also with emerging technology companies...

The second part of that is being able to articulate the value distribution provides beyond pick, pack, ship, and credit, when most people assume that's it. Well, it's far more than that in a normal environment. But when you add to it the transition we're going through with digital transformation, it's even becoming more relevant and more critical. And there's a lot of folks that would tell you, ehhh, they shouldn't really be called distributors any more, they should be called solution aggregators. I don't know if that's right or wrong. But the theme is, they're doing way more than just delivering physical product. So that's the first constituency, and the most important.

What's the second constituency? 

The second constituency is obviously the solution providers, [the distributors'] customers. I don't think I need to do a ton there other than just keep awareness in the marketplace of what [distributors are] doing. Because they do a very good job of that. Distributors do an excellent job of managing their customers, recruiting their customers, partnering with their customers. I can tell you that from personal experience, having been a customer of theirs' for a couple of years.

And then the third constituency is everybody else in the ecosystem. It could be industry analysts. It could be folks like you, the press, the media. … There are a lot of folks in the industry that are influencers, consultants, the big consultancies. They don't understand distributors. They don't understand really what they do. They don't understand the value they provide. And as a result, it comes through in a lot of the work that they do. So they're doing work for various companies, mostly vendors, and they're doing routes to market, analysis work for them, developing routes to market, recommending various things. And guess what? They don't understand a major part of how product gets to market in the industry. That's a problem.

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