Avnet Schools Partners On Pushing Innovation
August 6, 2012 Dan Burger
Although it may sometimes seem as futile as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest, there are companies that are proving IT innovation not only exists, but can be achieved along with reducing complexity and costs. Some will find it on their own. Others will need help. Avnet and its IBM business partners in the United States and Canada are preparing to be your helpers.
The most likely gardens for growing innovation are the general categories of analytics, cloud computing, and expert integrated systems. If you follow IBM news and analysis in the pages of The Four Hundred, you’ve read a lot about these three categories. Analytics and cloud computing have been headliner topics for at least a couple of years. Expert integrated systems is the generic term for IBM’s PureSystems modular systems that were launched in April.
Now before you pull a skeptic muscle and limp to the medicine cabinet (or maybe the liquor cabinet), let’s dispel any thoughts of silver bullets and anti-complexity shields. Solving difficult problems with simple answers only happens in fairy tales and press releases. Real innovation, however, often comes from outside sources with expert credentials. Not always, but often. Avnet didn’t say this, but I believe it to be true. And that’s why Avnet is launching an educational program designed to help its business partners help organizations that believe in innovation, but aren’t likely to create it on their own.
For business partners operating alongside Avnet, the new-found smarts will come from IBM-sanctioned sales and technical certification training.
And it just so happens that Avnet is hosting its annual Compass education and certification event for IBM partners this week (August 5 through 8) in San Antonio, Texas. Understanding the long-term data center and enterprise technology needs of organizations is one of the educational objectives of the conference, according to Mark Martin, an Avnet marketing and business development executive in a prepared statement. “Programs such as Compass 2012 help our business partners become more profitable, develop competencies that set them apart in the marketplace, and reduce the costs associated with doing business.”
More than 250 attendees are expected. Details of the event can be found at the Compass 2012 website.
While business partner education and certification preparation is the focus, services associated with Avnet’s recent acquisition of Ascendant Technology will also be part of the agenda. Ascendant generated approximately $90 million in revenue during the 2011 calendar year. It focuses heavily on IBM’s WebSphere software stack and Rational development tools. Its services include a healthcare provider portal, middleware infrastructure automation, and social business in the cloud.
Increases in services revenue could offset other revenue hits the company is taking. In its most recent quarterly financial report, Avnet’s Technology Solutions group–which buys systems, storage, software, and services from IT vendors and distributes them through channel partners worldwide–recorded an 8.1 percent revenue decline. Sales in the Americas region for Technology Solutions fell 9.1 percent.
Despite those declines, in July, Avnet acquired Magirus Group, an IT distributor based in Stuttgart, Germany. Pending regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close in October.