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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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What does that mean to GTDC? 

Our role at GTDC is to promote the value, to articulate that, and we're going to do it in a number of different ways. One of the things that we'll do is, we traditionally have developed white papers and research that helped articulate that data. For example, we had built a white paper, maybe 10 years ago, that very specifically talked about the value that disties provide in financial terms. [It was] primarily targeted towards the vendor community. A vendor channel executive could take that document and sit down with the CFO of their company when the CFO was hammering him or her about why are we investing in distribution, and articulate, 'This is some of the value. Do you understand that, for example, when a distributor owns the relationship with the solution provider, there's no bad debt write-offs on the part of the vendor. That doesn't happen. You understand the value of pre-sales engineering support and post sales engineering support, people that we don't have to hire.' … As a vendor executive, I could take that into and sit with folks within the organization that weren't quite sure what distribution did and how they did it.

That seems so obvious now. 

So we're going to refresh a lot of the content. There's a lot of training material targeted towards folks in the vendor community that may not need to be financially-oriented but more along the lines of fundamentals: What do disties do, and how can they do it, and why you should be looking at it. And one of the big reasons that needs to obviously refreshed is, we now have a full array of services associated with cloud marketplaces, what's happening in the digital transformation world. And they're still evolving, as you would expect. A lot of [IT] is not physical distribution any more. It's now virtual, and it's services-related. And we need to do a better job with that.

We also need to be more up-front, and I plan to be, at some [general industry] events. Obviously, when Ingram does an event, or Tech Data does an event, or Arrow does an event, they do a fabulous job at that. [I'm now really] talking about events like XChange, for example. Today, here at XChange, there's 320 solution providers. And every one of them is working with distribution. Maybe very different distributors. It would be a good idea to have a presence here. GTDC should have a presence, and I can promote the value. And [partners] can decide which distributor they want to go work with.

So there's a number of things I've got going.

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