Avnet Creates Training Portal for Resellers of IBM Wares
September 11, 2006 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In an effort to try to make it easier for its downstream partners to sell IBM hardware, software, and services, master distributor Avnet has created a sales-oriented training portal called Ignition Online.
While there is a wealth of information about IBM’s products out there on the Web, knowing the technical feeds and speeds of a product is not the same thing as knowing how to sell it. Just figuring out all of the intricacies of IBM’s sales tools and materials, much less its channel processes and incentives, is enough to drive a partner to sell Windows–er, drive a partner nuts, I mean. Avnet also has its own practices and incentives, and resellers have to be trained on how Avnet expects them to do deals.
Anyway, being one of the three big master distributors of IBM’s Power and X64 servers, what Avnet does to help its partners can have a big effect on IBM’s overall sales, and with the System i5 having such a strong channel presence, Avnet could have a big impact on the future success of the System i if it provides the right kind of training to help resellers peddle the box. Getting new partners trained in the ways of IBM and Avnet is also crucial if these two companies want to grow their own businesses, since organic growth through a static number of partners does not provide sufficient growth.
The Ignition Online site includes Channel Connection, which is Avnet’s partner portal for hardware and software resellers. It also has an area to help resellers develop their skills, and another area to help them get certified for value-added enhancements (VAEs) and get certifications for special-bid items. The site also includes training areas provided by both IBM and Avnet that covers System i, System p, and System x servers as well as TotalStorage disk and tape arrays, and Tivoli, Lotus, WebSphere, and DB2 software products.
Avnet Technology Solutions unit sells IT products in over 30 countries and had $4.8 billion in sales in the past twelve months; the Avnet parent company is a massive electronics and IT distributor, with $14.3 billion in sales, over 300 suppliers, and over 100,000 partners.