United Kingdom: broadliner Tech Data has unveiled a new Bid Portal that provides resellers with a single tool through which the deal registration schemes of multiple vendors can be accessed. This simple, streamlined way of applying for bids should speed up the process, make it easier to navigate different vendor schemes, and help ensure resellers don't miss out on potential opportunities.
Cathi Low, Director of SMB at Tech Data, said: "the idea of the Bid Portal is to take all the complexity out and make it as simple as possible to apply for special bid pricing. Every vendor will handle bids in their own way and for resellers, getting used to the nuances of each one can be confusing and time-consuming. The Bid Portal irons all of that out and provides our customers with a single form to complete for all the vendors it covers."
Initially, around 15 of Tech Data's leading vendor partners will be covered by the Bid Portal, including major names like HP Inc and Dell. More will be added at a later stage. InTouch users will be able to access the Bid Portal by clicking on a highlighted link that will be displayed on the Product Details page, if special bid pricing can be applied. This will be highly visible, as highlighted text, directly beneath the product part codes. The Bid Portal page will also be accessible from the main menu structure. Once they have landed on the page, resellers simply key in the necessary details. The Bid Portal will then progress with the application, posting it to the relevant vendor's process automatically. Resellers will receive an acknowledgement email with contact details and a clear service level for response times.
Tech Data continually develops and enhances its InTouch online system to make it easier for its customers to do business. Over the past year, it has introduced mobile-optimised version of the website, and an advanced yet easy-to-use process for ordering accessories and replacements on End-of-Life products. It also extended order tracking to vendor direct deliveries and introduced new categories and page designs that make it easier for resellers to find the products they need quickly. These enhancements have received an incredibly positive response. Tech Data is now getting more than a million page views from over 100,000 unique customers each month on its UK website. As well as stock availability, pricing and detailed specs on an unrivalled choice of products from leading vendors, Tech Data's InTouch platform provides resellers with access to a wide range of tools and resources designed to help them grow sales, improve margin, reduce cost and improve customer satisfaction. A weekly WebEx guided tour gives resellers the opportunity to learn about its capabilities and ask their own questions.
Broadliner Tech Data has unveiled enhancements to StreamOne, the company's platform that powers its award-winning Cloud Solutions Store. StreamOne, which enables partners to offer and scale cloud and subscription services, now features an analytics dashboard that displays real-time Microsoft Azure consumption and launches proactive notifications when usage charges exceed set thresholds. The enhancements will be available to solution providers and managed service providers (MSPs) in the United States and Europe.
"Tech Data is the first distributor to offer this kind of insight into Microsoft Azure", said John Tonnison, executive vice president, Cloud Computing and chief information officer at Tech Data. "These enhancements deliver on our commitment to enabling our solution providers to lead with, support and manage Azure subscriptions. With the new monitoring and budgeting capabilities, we are giving our solution providers better visibility to manage and monitor their clients' consumption and mitigate credit risk."
Tech Data's StreamOne platform is more deeply integrating with Microsoft Azure, offering solution providers and MSPs visibility into aggregate Azure consumption by customer tenant. The dashboard will provide details around Azure usage, monthly tracking and usage predictions, and overall budget and credit limits. In July, Tech Data announced enhancements to StreamOne that enable solution providers to launch a private label cloud store or integrate Tech Data Cloud services into an existing e-commerce environment. Tech Data Cloud has also recently delivered APIs to validate Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) identification and existing Cloud Service Provider (CSP) tenants, improving processes to migrate customers from Microsoft's Advisor and Open programs to Microsoft CSP. Tech Data Cloud offers solution providers and MSPs the capabilities needed to capitalize on cloud opportunities in the marketplace, including the tools to optimize and transform their businesses. The Tech Data Cloud team offers education, marketing, business planning, demand creation, sales training and services to enable partners to successfully sell cloud products and solutions.
American multispecialist Avnet has entered into an agreement to sell its Technology Solutions operating group to broadliner Tech Data in a stock and cash transaction valued at approximately €2.35b, in what is surely the IT distribution biggest merger to date. The sale of this business provides both Avnet and Tech Data with immediate opportunities to focus on core strategies and scale their respective businesses, ultimately delivering greater profitability to their shareholders.
"We believe the acquisition of Technology Solutions by Tech Data is the best decision for our employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. This transaction presents us with the best strategic path for Avnet's future success and profitability, and puts Technology Solutions in position to achieve breakthrough business results with Tech Data", said William Amelio, CEO of Avnet. "Moving forward, Avnet will focus its resources and investments on becoming a leader in design chain and supply chain services not only for our current customers and suppliers, but also for new markets. We will drive targeted investments in embedded solutions, Internet of Things (IOT) and critical digital platforms. By investing in these high growth areas, we can expand the breadth of our portfolio and attract new customers worldwide who depend on us to deliver world-class solutions."
Avnet's Technology Solutions operating group is an IT solutions distributor focusing on the datacenter, network, storage and security markets in more than 80 countries (in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom for the EMEA region, which will all reinforce local TD Azlan teams, or ought to create new business, such as in Hungary, India, Romania or Turkey). It provides next generation solutions, marketing, training, resources and services that span the cloud to the data center and encompass the entire IT lifecycle. They work with value-added resellers to make it easier and more affordable to enter and excel in high-growth technology and vertical markets locally and around the world.
"We are excited to announce this transformative transaction, which creates a premier global IT distributor with the most diverse end-to-end solutions from the data center to the living room", said Bob Dutkowsky, CEO of Tech Data. "This combination complements our value-added distribution capabilities in Europe and the Americas, while establishing Tech Data's presence in Asia-Pacific, which will be a new market for us. As a result of the enhanced value proposition created through this transaction, Tech Data will be even better positioned to capture opportunities in next-generation technologies, deliver differentiated value to our customers and vendor partners, support career development for our employees, and generate strong returns for our shareholders. We believe the strategic and financial benefits resulting from this transformative combination are compelling for both our company and our stakeholders. We look forward to welcoming the Technology Solutions team to the Tech Data family and are excited about the future opportunities ahead."
Patrick Zammit, president of the Technology Solutions business, said, "Industry standardisation, innovation and converging technologies have transformed our industry. The broader portfolio created through this combination will enable both businesses to better capitalise on these trends, while also providing new opportunities for Technology Solutions to optimise and expand its offering, as well as unlock value in ways we could not historically. Given the strength of our customer and vendor relationships, our common cultures and values, as well as the skilled and engaged teams at both businesses, I am confident that this is a winning combination."
Tech Data + Technology Solutions: strong platform for growth and value creation
Terms and Financing
Under the terms of the agreement, which was approved by the boards of directors of both companies, Avnet will receive €2.15b in cash and 2.785 million shares of Tech Data common stock, currently valued at approximately €180m and representing an approximate 7% ownership position in Tech Data. Tech Data intends to finance the cash portion of the consideration through a combination of cash on hand, drawings under its existing revolver, and proceeds from a new term loan facility and senior notes, which are backstopped by fully-committed debt financing from BofA Merrill Lynch. Following the close of the transaction, Tech Data will continue to benefit from strong cash flows to support debt reduction and organic growth initiatives. Tech Data expects to maintain an investment-grade profile and to reach a target leverage ratio of approximately 2.5x total debt-to-adjusted EBITDA within 18 to 24 months. The deal is of course subject to the approval of competition authorities throughout the world.
United Kingdom: broadliner Tech Data is driving efficiency and making it easier for resellers to do business by launching a mobile-optimised version of its InTouch ecommerce site and providing new interactive features that will help them to engage with customers on the spot and deliver an enhanced experience and higher levels of service.
The mobile-optimised site brings the comprehensive access to real-time product information, availability and pricing to resellers' smartphone and tablet screens. It is designed to look and feel like the smartphone apps everyone now uses on a daily basis. It comes with all the core functionality of InTouch, while making the mobile pages friendly and intuitive, so that resellers can use them to interact with customers and open up new opportunities.
A new 'invisible pricing mode' feature allows products to shown on the screen of a smartphone or tablet without displaying the price. And for the first time ever, a limited version of the site (without price or availability) will be visible to everyone. This means it will not be necessary to have a Tech Data account or log-in to see product details, so resellers and customers can get a quick snapshot of products at any time. Resellers can access all the main functions of InTouch on the mobile version, such as product search and information, ordering and tracking. They can also use the desktop and mobile sites in tandem, transferring a shopping basket from a mobile device to a team member in their office to maintain centralised control of purchasing.
Cathi Low, Director SMB at Tech Data, said: "our customers have been asking for a mobile-optimised version of InTouch, and a lot of thought, time and effort has gone into making the site really intuitive and responsive. It will be a really useful tool for all resellers and especially those with field sales teams using smartphones or tablets. New features such as invisible pricing and open access will make it much easier to share information, so resellers can explore the options, interact with customers and address potential opportunities on the spot. It will enhance the experience for everyone, make it easier to do business, and help resellers deliver a better service and do more business."
Tech Data has also made improvements to its desktop website, introducing redesigned product pages and new Category Stores that make it easier and faster to find products. There are Category Stores for Smartphones; Laptops; Tablets; Components; Supplies; Wearables; and CAD. In addition, it has sharpened up navigation for its online Configurators, which provide a convenient way to identify, build, and order everything from simple memory modules to NAS and complete servers. There are 30 of these fully-populated areas now and Tech Data is planning to introduce even more in the coming months, making it easier for customers to build quotes for complex systems and find appropriate and compatible add-ons and accessories quickly. Improvements have also been made to ensure systems run smoothly and that the ordering process is as streamlined and efficient as possible for customers. The enhancements will ensure that Tech Data continues to lead the way in e-commerce online services for the channel, said Low. "InTouch is already the leading website for UK resellers and retailers. It provides our customers with access to the widest range of products and it is constantly updated with promotions and product information, rich data content and specification sheets. InTouch is designed to allow our customers to respond to the needs of end-users instantly, enhance the service they deliver and increase their sales. The new mobile-optimised version and the additional desktop features make it an even more useful and productive tool for them."
Every month, InTouch is used by over 100,000 channel personnel across 5000 resellers. More than 70 percent of SMB business is placed electronically. As well as making it straightforward for them to find products and place orders, InTouch enables resellers to access various options and services, such as bid pricing and pre-configuration. It also provides the capability to review the progress of orders, track delivery, and obtain details such as product serial numbers and copy invoices or other documents. Credit accounts and returns can also be managed through the system. All of these automated processes increase efficiency and help customers reduce the time and costs associated with managing orders and deliveries.
Broadliner Tech Data has unveiled enhancements to StreamOne, the company's platform that powers its award-winning Cloud Solutions Store. StreamOne, which enables partners to offer and scale cloud and subscription services, now gives solution providers the capability to customise their own online cloud store or integrate with the Tech Data Cloud Solutions Store. Additionally, the company announced an agreement with Global Knowledge, a leading provider of learning services and professional development solutions, to provide cloud business assessments through its Tech Data Cloud business unit. The announcements were made in conjunction with Tech Data's participation in Microsoft's 2016 Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC), held last week in Toronto.
"Our enhancements to the StreamOne platform enable solution providers to do what they do best—solve their clients' problems—while leaving the rest to us", said John Tonnison, executive vice president, Cloud Computing and chief information officer at Tech Data. "Tech Data's ability to offer the right mix of customised solutions, education, and programs for our customers uniquely positions us to propel them on their individual cloud journeys. Combining our competence and strength in the on-prem market with our strategic investments in the mobile, cloud, and IoT markets, Tech Data is well-equipped to empower our resellers in the hybrid world, where the business of IT will soon take place."
Tech Data's StreamOne platform now offers more flexibility and functionality for solution providers and managed service providers (MSPs), who can now launch a private label cloud store or integrate Tech Data Cloud’s services into an existing e-commerce environment. Tech Data Cloud has also developed APIs to validate Microsoft Partner Network (MPN) identification and existing Cloud Service Provider (CSP) tenants, improving processes to migrate customers from Microsoft's Advisor and Open programs to Microsoft CSPs. The enhancements to StreamOne include:
Tech Data Cloud's Private Label Marketplace, powered by StreamOne, enables solution providers and MSPs to implement a customizable e-commerce platform powered by the Tech Data Cloud Solutions Store. The Private Label Marketplace provides a complete purchasing experience for Microsoft CSP products, including automated provisioning and flexible billing cycles, as well as the ability to bundle Microsoft products with a partners' services or as add-ons.
StreamOne APIs enable partners to leverage their existing e-commerce and in-house systems while connecting to the Tech Data Cloud Solution Store for cloud service catalogues, ordering, subscription management, and billing management. Tech Data offers a complete set of StreamOne APIs, as well as partner support.
Microsoft Azure available via the Microsoft CSP program provides partners with instant access to pre-configured bundles, including backup, site recovery, file storage, SQL Server, and Virtual Machines. The fully automated process enables partners to purchase, provision, and manage cloud solutions in a true consumption-based model.
These new offerings are available immediately in the United States and Europe through Tech Data offices in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Availability in Canada is expected in the autumn.
"As the amount of data businesses are generating increases, their capacity—both in terms of physical infrastructure and staff bandwidth—can't keep up, and the need for more hybrid and cloud environments will become increasingly necessary", said David Smith, vice president, Worldwide SMB at Microsoft. "Tech Data's StreamOne platform has evolved to help resellers meet the new demands of the market and we look forward to their continued partnership as our solution providers adopt the future of cloud."
Tech Data Cloud has also added Global Knowledge to its Cloud Mastery Journey, a program designed to help solution providers build fully-optimised cloud businesses. Through the agreement with Global Knowledge, Tech Data Cloud now offers the Cloud Mastery Assessment (CMA) tool, which assesses cloud practice capabilities and provides practical resources to help build successful cloud partner practices. Once the CMA tool has been used to identify areas for operational improvement, partners can then engage in consultant-led workshops to accelerate a personalised journey specifically tailored to fit their cloud business practice. The CMA tool is now available to solution providers through Tech Data Cloud in the United States and Europe, with availability in Canada coming this autumn.
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TD Datech UK
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