Avnet is planning a more aggressive approach to the market in the coming year, according to its EMEA head Graeme Watt.
The distributor, which snapped up Magirus last year, is aiming to grow its services business through a mix of organic growth and acquisition.
“We are the largest VMware provider in Europe and our professional services range from consolidating mission-critical datacentres to life cycle management, and asset disposal to refurbishments," Watt told CRN. "We are also offering IT estate management as a result of our recent acquisition of Mattelli, along with software and hardware renewals, and 24/7 managed services for some customers.
“Clearly this [services] is an investment area for us not just in EMEA but globally. We want to do things that are scalable and build out services globally.”
Watt admitted there were still some direct customer issues resulting from its recent services acquisitions but said Avnet was working on resolving those.
“Our focus is our partnership with resellers, and we are working hard to create opportunities for Avnet, our resellers and our suppliers going forward,” he stressed.
In terms of Magirus, Watt said the distributor has executed on all its key tasks, with all offices integrated or on the cusp of being put together.
“By the end of May there will not be an office that has not been integrated,” he said. “This gives us a huge focus on converged infrastructure. We are an authorised FlexPod integrator and have EMC, VMware and NetApp in most parts of the company. This gives us a huge advantage over the competition. Magirus was always a highly strategic acquisition. We have had some big wins and we will see a lot more.”
Looking ahead at future acquisitions, Watt said Avnet would continue to look and continue to be approached.
“I think we will move more towards services – these services companies are frequently national – so you might well see more national plays in EMEA rather than multinational," he said.
“From a UK perspective you will see us become stronger, fitter, faster. Sukh [Rayat, who took over as regional director UK and Ireland from John Toal last year] has rejigged the management team and our main focus is winning back some of the ground we lost last year. The UK will be a point of focus for us driving the services business. You will see us becoming a little bit more aggressive and joined up. The UK is our biggest market. We are very bullish. We have made investments and we are going to leverage a return on those investments.”
Watt also hinted at a change of sales approach to a more solutions-based strategy.
“In distribution we have a focus on our core suppliers – we are adding our own IP around that technology," he said. "We are looking at turning our tech portfolio from a single vendor or multi-vendor into solutions. We are moving more and more away from a siloed focus on sales – such as having an IBM salesperson selling IBM and an HP person selling HP – and we are evolving our sales team in the UK to be more solutions focused rather than vertical. It is definitely a key evolution that is being initiated in the UK and will happen across EMEA.”
Looking ahead, Watt said the distributor aims to "plan conservatively and hope for the best".
“We can always adapt and add resource quickly. I would far rather do that than have to rein things back,” he added.
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