Distributor Avnet is ploughing more than £1m into the channel this year and has bucked the trend by recruiting more than 20 new employees.
The money will be invested into the firm’s marketing funds, and half of it has helped to pay for the Business Partner Innovation Centre, and Total Storage Solutions centre, where resellers can take end-users and demonstrate equipment and test out interoperability.
Marlene Yeoman, vice president and general manager of the northern region at Avnet, told CRN it wanted to invest back into the channel. She said the new employees would be in new business and customer care as well as in its product divisions.
Alan Crean, managing director of VAR Taurus, said: “Avnet has always been very supportive of us. We really welcome this investment, as we do a lot of joint initiatives, marketing briefs and market intelligence work.”
Avnet, which recently reported six per cent revenue growth for its fiscal 2005, has also realigned it business to focus more heavily on the SME sector. The firm now operates 60 per cent in the SME and 40 per cent in the enterprise in software, Yeoman told CRN last week. “It has taken us years to get there – five years ago we were 90 per cent in the enterprise. IBM has been focusing more heavily on the SME and it has incentivised us to do the same,” she said. “It costs us a lot of money and is a lot of effort to focus on this sector, but we do it because this is where the growth is, and in relative terms the margins are better.”
Nick King, chief executive of VAR Apex Computers, said: “I cannot understand why VARs of our size want to deal directly with IBM when Avnet adds so much value, whether it’s with the resource centres, or to cover an area where a reseller might be weak. The whole focus on SME is about trying to add innovation to the sector, and Avnet helps to give us the opportunity to do this.”
Yeoman said the firm would push to also build up relationships between its ISV partners and its resellers. With all these initiatives now in place,
she said the company hopes to increase its turnover by 10 per cent in the coming year.
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