Distributor Programs Help Resellers Chase Stimulus Money
Federal governments American Recovery and Reinvestment Act drawing high interest in channel.
A number of IT distributors, buoyed by sales figures pointing to a bottoming of the industry-wide downturn, have instituted programs to help channel partners track and secure billions in stimulus money under the federal governments American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Westcon Group Inc., Tech Data Corp. and most recently Ingram Micro Inc. have outlined plans to help resellers monitor and position themselves to win competitive bids available under the stimulus package.
Last month, Westcon rolled out its New Start America initiative, designed specifically to help channel partners take advantage of stimulus package opportunities in unified communications, wireless networking, IT security, healthcare and the public sector.
Tech Data followed by unwrapping its Economic Stimulus Watch program to help resellers track ARRA spending as it becomes available this summer.
Now Ingram Micro has launched IMStimulus, a fee-based package of tools and services to help partners assess customer needs, screen requests-for-proposals (RFP), write grants and improve sales skills to win projects funded by stimulus money.
The three distributors were doubtless encouraged by a recent report from the Global Technology Distribution Council, an industry association whose members include heavyweights Arrow Electronics, Avnet, Bell Micro, D&H and Synnexas well as Ingram, Tech Data and Westcon--generating an aggregated $100 billion in sales worldwide.
In the first of a series of quarterly studies on IT conditions in the U.S., the GTDC said that member sales performances suggested a leveling off of the industry slowdown in the U.S. market. The organization records actual sales data posted by affiliated distributors, although it does not disclose those figures publicly.
Matching users, partners and solutions
The goal of all three distributors stimulus ventures is to fast track channel partners toward revenue opportunities available under the ARRA, many of which are expected to surface this summer and further accelerate next year.
For example, Ingrams IMStimulus package of services is intended to help channel partners maximize sales and service opportunities available through the ARRA, partly by promoting early access to proposals and using its extensive database to match users, channel partners and solutions.
If you dont do anything youll probably get your fair share of the stimulus dollars, said Bob Laclede, Ingram vice president of business development. But if you help your solution providers, they might get more than their fair share.
Laclede, who was pulled from his position running Ingrams government and education vertical to help channel partners track and secure stimulus dollars, said that the distributor has about 7,000 resellers operating in the public sector who could benefit from the program. He estimated that as many as 40 percent would participate.
He said that Ingram conducted internal research to determine how much of the estimated $80 billion in IT-related stimulus money it could contend for as funds become available under the ARRA.
We drilled down to buckets of end users and technologies and figured out that we could sell somewhere between $2 billion and $5 billion in products and solutions that either we have on our line card or we have a solution provider who touches it, Laclede said.