Tech Distribution Changes In An Empowered And Cloudy Industry – Discussed At Distree XXL

I was invited to speak at the annual Distree XXL event in Monte Carlo last week. Now in its ninth year, Distree XXL gathers together top executives from tech industry vendors and distributors plus, in recent years, retailers from around EMEA for three days that include a trade show, presentation sessions, and meetings to discuss industry-specific channel topics. The 2011 event drew 950 delegates from 127 tech vendors and over 400 distributors. One of the event highlights for everybody is a process to request and set up formal one-on-one meetings between the various players, similar to our own one-on-one sessions at the Forrester Forums (only their software is better). A total of 5,000 such sessions were scheduled: some at tables in larger rooms around the trade show, many others in private meeting rooms elsewhere in the conference center.

The keynote presentation I gave was a clone of my recent Forrester Teleconference , where I use the word “changes” both as a noun and a verb: I describe what changes we see happening in the channel due to recent industry trends, and I propose how channel resellers and distributors must also change their business model for continued success. The most common comment I heard from attendees after I presented was, “It was good to hear somebody outside our business make these points. We’ve been discussing this for a while now, but not everybody is convinced this is happening or knows what to do about it.” I must say, I have never, ever collected so many business cards after a presentation where I must follow up by sending slides as well as two relevant reports (one on channel resellers and one on distributors) by my esteemed colleague Tim Harmon and myself.

We also heard some interesting presentations from renowned industry watchers such as Context, GfK, IDC, and Regent, the M&A experts. Dr. Rudi Aunkofer from GfK gave his regular market numbers update, but his main point was to show a slide with pictures of all the latest smartphones – he then challenged the audience to tell the difference between them. They do all now look the same, and he went on to forecast that the same will happen to all tech devices: “You will longer sell your products on the basis of features or looks – you must get more clever,” he said. Now that is a great prompt for a report I have just submitted to our fabulous editing group; so it should come out very soon and is essentially about moving tech marketing’s obsession with product differentiation to trying to focus within the customer’s life cycle.

At the gala dinner on Thursday evening, the attendees voted on several awards being presented: The distributors picked their favorite vendors in various categories, while those vendors who were present were able, in their view, to name their most successful distributors in each EMEA subregion. Here is the list of winning distributors:

 

 1. African Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Mustek

Finalists

Mustek, Pinnacle Africa, Rectron, Red Dot, Tarsus

 

2. Middle East & North Africa Distributor of the Year

WINNER

ASBIS

Finalists

Almasa, Aptec, Asbis, FDC, Redington

 

3. Central & Eastern Europe Distributor of the Year

WINNER

ABC Data

Finalists

AB, ABC Data, Action, Asbis, Tech Data

 

4. Russia & CIS Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Elko

Finalists

Asbis, Elko, Inline, Merlion, OCS

 

5. South East Europe Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Arena

Finalists

Arena, Asbis, EWE Comp, M SAN Group, Oktabit

 

6. Southern Europe Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Ingram Micro

Finalists

Computer Gross,Databox Informatica, Esprinet, Ingram Micro, Techdata

 

7. Northern Europe Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Actebis

Finalists

Actebis, Also, Avnet, Ingram Micro, Tech Data

 

8.DACH Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Ingram Micro

Finalists

Actebis, Also, Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Wortmann

 

9. UK & Ireland Distributor of the Year

WINNER

Ingram Micro

Finalists

Computer 2000, EntaTech, Ingram Micro, Micro-P, VIP

Computer Centre

 

If you’d like to know which vendors won awards in nine categories, drop me a line or set up an inquiry with me.

Historically, this event was focused on technology component and peripherals distribution. But the flavor of the event has now changed, and there was top executive representation from vendors such as Adobe, AMD, Cisco, Fujitsu, Kaspersky, Lenovo, Intel, Microsoft (platinum sponsor), and Symantec – tech vendors that really do get channels. I would encourage all other tech vendors to consider this event next year as a prime opportunity to meet with the channel and gain a better understanding of how distributors will play a role in their future success. Being focused only on B2B is no longer an argument these days because of the oncoming consumerization of IT and the realization that “B2B marketing is marketing to people who are at work,” as I cited in a previous blog.

Do you agree? We’d like your feedback, please.

Always keeping you informed! Peter 

Comments

Good story

I like the story.

Thanks

Ben,
Thanks.