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Exclusive interview of Patrick Zammit, Senior Vice President and Global President at Avnet Technology Solutions
2016-03-17

ITdistri recently met Patrick Zammit, Global President for Avnet Technology Solutions, and interviewed him on the impact in the EMEA region of the latest acquisitions and announcements of the distributor.

ITdistri: your are launching only now your cloud marketplace, behind your competitors. Why only now?

Patrick Zammit: the most important is not to go fast, but to be steady to win the race. We have observed the evolution of the market, to answer perfectly to the user needs. We have determined that the hybrid cloud (including both private and public parts) was the future. Historically, we are very strong on the private cloud infrastructure market. So we just needed to build our application platform, in order to offer ways for our customers to optimize their information systems, thanks to public cloud services. By starting late, we have been able to choose the best which has been done on the market, and to add our own tools, especially regarding invoicing. We want our customers to have an absolute control on their cloud usage, so they may decide when and how to switch to a private cloud platform if necessary while keeping a large flexibility on their public cloud subscriptions. According to our studies, this is a differentiating factor in sales points. Regarding vendors, we have signed worldwide distribution partnerships with major companies such as IBM (Softlayer) and Amazon (AWS). Our platform, which is also available in a white-label version, has of course been built to be able to include local vendors. This will allow our European offices to sign local distribution deals, whether for IaaS, SaaS or even, who knows, cloud-based enterprise management solutions. We will also offer to our partners tools that allow them to define precisely what they can virtualise, and what can be placed in private or public clouds. These tools will allow them to optimise the flexibility they need, according to their budgets.

ITdistri: other major distributors have decided, for cost cutting reasons, to centralise some backoffice functions in Eastern Europe, like Westcon in Romania or Ingram in Bulgaria. Does Avnet have similar plans?

Patrick Zammit: this is not a major issue for us, for the time being. We think that such centralisation projects lead to an important loss of competences. Nevertheless, we do have already centralised some functions. Sales management for France, Italy and Eastern Europe is based in Poland, while Germany and the United Kingdom manage their own sales locally. All financial flows with vendors (purchase and stocks) are managed from Belgium, as well as logistics, cashflow, taxes and our pan-European integration centre. We currently do not have plans for more reorganisations than that. At Avnet, we believe more in our Competence Centres. To day, we already have two of them: a Security Competence Centre in the Netherlands, and an Information Management / Business Analytics Competence Centre in Germany. A third Competence Centre is already planned, for cloud issues. Their task is to define solution-oriented offers, as well as their implementation. The centralisation ends at the definition of a core offer and program, which is eventually adapted locally by each Avnet country team.

ITdistri: what about Orchestra’s acquisition?

Patrick Zammit: we have acquired Orchestra to become a major EMC distributor in Germany. Orchestra has developed a predictive tool which allows resellers to intervene before the servers of their customers either fail or reach saturation. This service is managed from Croatia. It will be expanded, in order to be used in all the European countries where we are official EMC distributors. The former Orchestra Croatian office, which is not to be moved to Germany, will ultimately become our EMC Competence Centre.

ITdistri: even if you do no work on it anymore, can you explain us the reason of the Silica-Memec merging?

Patrick Zammit: I know very well this subject, as I have long worked for Avnet electronic business. The idea behind this reorganisation is fairly simple: Memec is focussed on niche products, while Silica is specialised in broad-usage electronic components. By merging the two structures, we allow Memec vendors to reach a much broader customer base than previously.

ITdistri: after having acquired the EEC business of struggling Russian multi-specialist RRC, Ingram has very recently been acquired by a Chinese company. Anything planned, on your side?

Patrick Zammit: we will of course acquire more companies. But we are very mindful about compliance issues, to keep in line with the American legislation. So, anything new regarding this will be announced in due time…

Avnet Abacus expands power, protection and interconnect product range with Bel
2016-02-24

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Abacus has extended its portfolio with the introduction of product lines from several divisions of Bel, a specialist in the design and manufacture of power, protection and interconnect devices. The Bel portfolio now carried by Avnet Abacus comprises: the power conversion range from Bel Power Solutions; the Stewart Connector Ethernet connectivity range, including the RJ point five connector system; circuit protection products from Bel Fuse; and Bel Magnetics' solutions, including MagJack connectors with integrated magnetics, LAN magnetics modules for high-speed networking and the TRP division products. The addition of these lines ensues from the acquisition of the Power Solutions business of Power-One by Bel Fuse Inc. last year. Avnet Abacus is an established distribution partner for the Power-One brand in Europe and Avnet has long been a major distributor of the Bel portfolio in the Americas.

"The support of experienced and effectual distribution partners is an essential component in ensuring we compete effectively in the global market," said Andy Jones, European distribution manager at Bel. "By working with Avnet Abacus in Europe we are not only building upon our existing relationship with Avnet, but we are also tapping into the highly competent local resources and expertise required to take our business forward."

Alan Jermyn, vice president of marketing, Avnet Abacus, said, "Access to the latest products and technology is key to every electronics design engineer, and to service this successfully we must partner with the very best suppliers in the industry. The product lines we have added from Bel provide reliable, high-performance solutions to our European customer base, and extend our global offering." Bel products are available through Avnet Abacus offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Westcon opens up about Romanian outsourcing move
2015-11-25

Distributor Westcon has revealed a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm with operations in Romania will take charge of some of its EMEA finance and operations functions. Parent company Datatec announced yesterday that 300 of Westcon's 1,900 EMEA staff would be affected by a "BPO transformation" of its EMEA operations.

Westcon senior vice president David Grant revealed a phased migration of the functions in question will occur between now and mid-2017 and insisted service levels for resellers would not be affected. Although Grant was not in a position to divulge Westcon's BPO partner, he described it as a global outfit "in the top-right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant". "We separated our activities into those we see as transactional and those that add value to the customers and vendors," he said. "Anything that is very transactional we have decided to outsource to another organisation as it gives us scale and efficiency."

The outsourcing project will run alongside Westcon's impending European implementation of a global SAP project, Grant said, adding that affected employees may be offered other roles in the organisation. "It is not a case of everything changing on day one," he said. "Where roles are affected we will give people significant advance notice, as it's the responsible thing to do. We are growing, and while some transactional roles will be eliminated from the business, some new opportunities will be created so we will take as much time as we can to retrain and redeploy staff where it is appropriate to us."

Westcon, which operates through the Comstor and Westcon brands, has order-processing staff in 42 countries in EMEA, Grant said, adding that any staff whose roles are displaced will be offered the choice of staying on to help with the migration. Employee and other fees associated with the migration will cost parent Datatec about €11.5m in its current financial year.

Rival distributor Ingram Micro centralised more EMEA back-office functions to Sofia in Bulgaria last year.

Grant said it made more sense for Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Juniper and Check Point partner Westcon to partner with a BPO outfit with knowledge of the region. "We have chosen an organisation where it is their core business to provide business processes and support," he said. "We are not experts in sourcing a facility or finding local language specialists and training them on what we do."

Romania, which is where the BPO firm in question will carry out Westcon's transactional work, was ranked fourth in an index of the top global BPO locations this year carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, behind Vietnam, the Philippines and Bulgaria. Grant emphasised that Westcon's "core value-add" will be retained in-house and claimed that neither customer service levels nor its ability to execute would be affected by the move. "Our top 10 vendor partners have all offered to make sure there is good knowledge transfer and are helping to train our BPO staff," he said. "If you think about it, most of our major vendors have some part of their organisation that is outsourced so are completely familiar with what support they can give us."

Graeme Watt, EMEA president at rival distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, confirmed his company has also made some steps towards centralising transactional functions, "but nothing like on the scale we are seeing with Westcon". "It is fair to say that everybody is looking to see how much of that non-technical, more run-rate, transactional operations they can centralise," he said. "We have been talking about it for a while and we will centralise functions and operations where we think it makes sense and keep things local where we think it makes sense." (source: Channelweb United Kingdom).

Avnet Abacus distribution agreement with MechaTronix delivers high-power LED cooling solutions across Europe
2015-08-13

Semiconductor specialist Avnet Abacus has signed a pan-European distribution agreement with Taiwan-based MechaTronix, an important player in the global market for LED cooling solutions. From its roots as a designer and manufacturer of interconnection and packaging systems for a broad range of electronics applications, MechaTronix has grown to become a preferred cooling partner to the world's leading high-power LED manufacturers, including Bridgelux, Cree, Lumileds, Osram, Seoul and Sharp, and provides innovative thermal management products across a broad spectrum of solid-state lighting applications. With the arrival of high-power LEDs, thermal management is now a critical factor within LED fixtures, and MechaTronix has developed a comprehensive range of off-the-shelf LED coolers for passive or active heat dissipation, including pin-fin and star heat sinks that provide highly effective cooling for LEDs as powerful as 8000 lumen. Avnet Abacus is now stocking the MechaTronix ModuLED and IceLED cooling series, and will build on this range with new offerings from MechaTronix for professional deployment in spotlights, downlights, architectural, and utility LED applications, among others. MechaTronix systems are available through Avnet Abacus offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Avnet Abacus adds more battery technology to its product portfolio in distribution agreement with RRC
2015-03-26

Industrial computing and connectivity specialist Avnet Abacus has signed a franchised distribution agreement with RRC, which is specialized in power supplies, batteries and battery charging technology. This agreement builds on the existing relationship between the two companies, providing access via Avnet Abacus in Europe to RRC's range of standard and custom battery packs, which are developed using lithium-based technologies. These are complemented by a selection of standard, platform and custom battery chargers. RRC products are targeted for use in diverse sectors, including military, medical, industrial and consumer applications. They are available through Avnet Abacus offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

 

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