Top 40 IT distributors you need to know: Part Three

Doug Woodburn
clock • 28 min read

The UK's top 40 IT distributors generated nearly £13bn revenues in their latest years, CRN research has found. Here we count down those ranked 10th to 1st...

"Overall distribution is growing 10% year on year"

8. CMS Distribution

Revenues: £322.4m (-1%)

UK headcount: 250

Specialism: Storage

Vendors include: Acronis, Barracuda Networks, Gigabyte, Jabra, Seagate, Western Digital

UK HQ: London

Recent acquisitions: CCI Distribution (2011) Interactive Ideas (2013), Widget (2016)

Founded in 1988, this Ireland-based distributor recently expanded its direct European coverage to eight countries with the acquisition of German VAD sysob.

UK accounts show flat revenues of £322.4m for its year to 31 December 2019.

Operating in both the B2B and B2C space, CMS claims to serve over 3,000 resellers, employing 350 staff across 13 offices in the UK, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Sweden, China, the USA and Germany.

Quickfire Q&A with chief business officer Huw Jones

Which tech categories are you betting big on this year?

We are expecting significant growth in our cyber security, networking, data and information management and mobile computing categories. We are also growing in consumer electronics and gaming brands.

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What's the biggest misconception about distribution?

That it is just a ‘bank and a van'! When done correctly distribution works at a strategic level to help vendors achieve their priority goals and enable growth with channel partners

How would you summarise the health of the distribution sector in 2021?

Distribution is healthy in spite of various ‘peaks and troughs' due to the global pandemic. Cyber Security, XaaS, mobile working, gaming, consumer electronics have grown significantly in 2020. Datacenter technology was more challenging. Overall distribution is growing around 10 per cent YoY and the demand for IT technology products continues to accelerate. Those distributors with variety in their portfolio and channels will be best positioned to support vendors and partners maximising this opportunity.

What's been your biggest disappointment of the last year?

Not spending enough time together with our teams. CMS has done a great job connecting virtually, but nothing is quite like face to face time.

Do you expect to grow in 2021?

We aim to grow at least 10 per cent every year and are off to a great start in H1.

At first glance, the rise of cloud must be pretty devastating for distributors if there is no physical product to ship. How have you adapted?

Cloud is and will continue to be an important technology, but it's not the only option for consumers and business. At CMS we have developed efficient operational platforms, such as subscription billing and renewals automation that will support vendors transitioning to XaaS and subscription models. In addition, our teams are constantly surveying the technology landscape looking for innovative solutions that will help our partners build hybrid and private cloud environments.

Tell us one thing most people won't know about your company?

We are the UK's number 1 distributor of Open Source Software and NAS 

Which distributor bills itself as a "true VAD, but with scale"? Find out on next page...

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