For most of Commercial Integrator‘s nearly six years of existence, a dominant theme has been the convergence of IT and AV/automation worlds. We’re way past the stages of anticipating, accepting and adjusting to this convergence; you could say now that we’re in the acceleration stage.
For those who are either in need of some more hand-holding or are ready to step on the accelerator, the distribution company SYNNEX wants the industry to know that one of its key roles is IT support — every step of the way.
That was a big message the Fremont, Calif.-based company shared with attendees to its annual Inspire Conference, held Sept. 28-30 in Greenville, S.C., also home to SYNNEX sales and marketing headquarters. The event drew roughly 2,000 attendees to the TD Convention Center, as well as more than 100 exhibiting vendor partners including high-profile names like Microsoft, Google, HP, Lenovo, Dell, Sony, LG and more.
The second full day even delivered some sports and entertainment star power from NFL Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, who provided inspiration in his morning “Dream Big!” keynote, and multi-platinum-selling rock band Styx, whose concert capped the event.
“We’ve had a path of evolution over past few decades, starting off as a distribution company making sure products get to where they need to be at time they need to be there, but that was 30 years ago,” said SYNNEX president and CEO Kevin Murai during the general session to kick off the conference’s first full day.
“As we continue to move along that evolution we look much much different. We really want to be a strategic partner, to continue to move along that path — think of us as a systems integrator that has ability to append and fill in any gaps you have, from designing solutions all the way through to configuration to last-mile deployment and installation. Where you need help, we want to be your partner in helping you get there.
“Growth is out there for all of us, it just takes imagination, and desire and drive to create right kind of business to go and attack that,” Murai added, “so let’s take that journey together.”
Indicative of that growth, Murai noted that earlier in the week SYNNEX had reported its fiscal 3Q results that showed 9.8 percent year-over-year revenue increase (to $3.3 billion), including a healthy 9 percent surge in its Technology Solutions business compared with last year.
Murai outlined SYNNEX’s 2016 priorities that have helped achieve success and 2017 priorities to push it further for the distributor and its integrator/reseller partners.
In 2016 the company focused on growing cloud business (aided by its CloudSolv and ConvergeSolv services); enterprise mobility (its amount of wireless activations doubled); vertical solutions (with concentrations like K-12 education, verticals revenues were up 12 percent); and SMB (“the biggest single end-market segment that we collectively service,” Murai said).
For 2017, priorities include accelerating the cloud business, continued vertical market focus, mobility and IoT solutions, SMB and services. Combined, those areas present integrators myriad opportunities for constant communications with end users, leading to upsell and recurring revenue of a loyal customer base.
“When you look at IoT, really the opportunities are endless. Companies are investing much more in cloud computing, Big Data, and what goes with that communication of course is how you secure that data flow,” said Murai, noting that the IoT market is forecast to be $1.7 trillion in 2020 with more than 22 billion connected things.
“Ultimately we’re getting to an entire ‘office in a box’ — a real estate office in a box, a dentist office in a box — where you have a complete end-to-end solution in the cloud. This has predictable stickiness, you’re making contact with your customers every single month.”
Additionally, SYNNEX made a couple of announcements during the conference that underscored its emphasis on IoT and verticals — namely that it had added wireless solutions provider CalAmp to its IoT roster (the company has particular expertise in the connected vehicle category); and that it launched a strategy for channel growth regulated industries, specifically transportation, healthcare, utilities and construction sectors.
To elaborate on its concentrations heading into 2017, also during the general session SYNNEX had Peter Larocque, president of North American distribution, moderate an executive panel that included Eddie Franklin, VP of public sector and verticals; Rob Moyer, VP of software and cloud services; Tim Acker; VP of mobility; and Reyna Thompson, VP of convergence.
Each offered plenty of takeaways for the audience, such as:
- Franklin noted that the aforementioned regulated industries all have significant regulations to meet, which can be addressed through IT; “companies in the second tier are all under extreme amount of pressure to automate and deliver the same kind of results as the big companies are”; and even though “we beat it to death because it’s a big business,” education remains a vital vertical because it is constantly evolving.
- Moyer stressed that SYNNEX follows the trend lines and “we tend to make our bets in front of the curve,” and integrators can do well by picking a niche and owning it.
- Acker mentioned how the recent talk was about consumerization of IT and ways BYOD was going to take over the world, but “IT is back, and there’s a strong story about how to better enable the workforce and this channel is uniquely designed to address that”; mobility data remains a key part.
- Thompson emphasized end users’ concerns about “securing solutions at every layer” of their business and upgrading connectivity to support mobile devices; for 2017 opportunities like cybersecurity, wireless LAN and collaboration solutions such as Skype for Business will continue to grow and “we have key pillars under one umbrella.”