TMC Group Editorial Director Erik Linask pulled together a star team of executives for Thursday morning’s keynote panel at ITEXPO 2022, “Rethinking the Channel for the Future of Work.”
But before the discussion could begin, they had to get some business out the way. Turns out one of the three panelists’ companies had just purchased another panelist’s firm.
Announced the day before, technology-services broker Telarus was acquiring competitor services broker TCG. The merger is expected to create the largest technology services brokerage in the country.
“It’s no secret that our tools weren’t up to par with some of our competitors,” said panelist Dan Pirigyi, a partner at TCG. He said that joining forces with Telarus will help alleviate some of the development difficulties the firm faced.
For its part, Telarus sees the acquisition as part of normal business operations. “This business thrives on scale,” said panelist Adam Edwards, CEO of Telarus. “I always thought we would see consolidation.”
Edwards said he’s been expecting the space to consolidate ever since ScanSource acquired Intelisys way back in 2016. As luck would have it, the third panelist was Intelisys president John DeLozier.
DeLozier, who referred to Intelysis as the “OG” in the space, said he’s familiar with joining another firm after building his own. “Just because you change jerseys doesn’t mean you change as people,” he said.
Edwards said he asked Columbia Capital, which invested in Telarus two years ago, why consolidation is occurring now. Answer: Investment banks have been researching the space for years, but they just now feel it’s matured.
He says to expect more deals. “When one gets conviction, they all copy each other’s homework,” Edwards said. “Now there’s a fever pitch of how do we become involved in this.”
With the business announcements behind them, the panel turned its thoughts to the issue at hand. “Employees are not coming back to the office,” Pirigyi said.
Yet, business hasn’t slowed down, he said. DeLozier noted that, during the COVID pandemic, business spent $15 billion per week on digital Band-Aids so their workforces could operate from home.
“Two years later, these companies are looking for permanent solutions,” DeLozier said.
Pirigyi cited the Amazon Effect, where establishing a digital marketplace forced brick-and-mortar shops to adapt or close. Enterprises can’t afford to mull it over anymore. “Decisions are made much faster these days,” he said.
What are companies most interested in right now? “More,” said Edwards. “And we’re trying to provide as much value as possible.”
“People are always selling larger and more complex solutions,” he said.
Often, that means longer implementation timeframes – except for cloud services which is helping companies implement faster and contributing to the growth of cloud services, along with flexibility, and scalability.
DeLozier agreed and added that the buying cycle has changed.
“It’s no longer just the IT guy making the decision,” DeLozier said. “It’s HR, it’s sales. There’s a lot of people involved now.”
There’s another challenge today, too, when it comes to purchasing decisions. Supply chain problems have plagued larger projects. DeLozier noted two ways that logistics difficulties impact IT project implementations:
“We’ve seen some delays in some of our bigger projects because of supply chain delays,” DeLozier said.
He noted that cloud sales remain especially brisk. DeLozier equated it to a run on toilet paper and water before a hurricane. “We have folks running to the shelves now, buying things for future projects,” he said.
As for looking to the future, all the panelists agreed that applying security protections to the remote work force will remain a major focus.
“There’s all types of opportunity for security sales,” DeLozier said.
Edwards echoed that. “We talk about security with every deal we make,” he said. “It’s not the reason they’re interested, but it’s part of every discussion.”
“If you’re not asking about security, someone else is,” DeLozier added. “It’s foundational to any business.”
The bottom line from the panel is the channel model is growing, and between new working models and security, whether you’re a Telarus or Intelisys partner, both have the supplier bases to deliver a fell complement of technology solutions for every business need.
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