ATLANTA – Distributor SYNNEX has been placing a lot of emphasis the last couple years on getting its solution provider partners in both the U.S. and Canada to pay more attention to its Solv value-added practice areas. The largest of the Solvs in the U.S. is GovSolv. In Canada, its impact has been much more limited. However the distributor has been making a push into the education space in Canada, is looking to increase its presence in provincial and local government, and is doing the prep work to take a shot at the federal space.
“The U.S. public sector business is now our largest vertical in the US, at better than $3 billion,” said Eddie Franklin, VP, Sales, Public Sector, at SYNNEX. “It started in 2002, and originally was federal government, but now SLED (State, Local, Education) is the largest part of the business.
Frankin said that in the U.S., they have been able to continue to innovate and build a bigger value proposition around the public sector business, advancing resellers’ solutions more effectively, while at the same time creating a route to market for OEM partners. Franklin indicated that they looked to take the K-12 market in particular to the next level by hiring five former educators and co-ordinators from education, who taught them what they needed to go out and deliver in school districts.
Replicating that strategy in Canada is something of a challenge, Franklin said, because while some things in the public markets in the two countries are similar, others are very different. The Americans have been talking with the Canadian team about how to best make this happen.
“We are evaluating where the investments in the U.S. are transportable to the Canadian market, particularly where we have common vendors,” Franklin said. “Panasonic, for instance, has a different go-to-market in Canada than in the U.S.”
The initial focus in Canada was made in education.
“In Canada, the most similar area is K-12, and we wanted to replicate that in Canada,” Franklin said. “We concentrated in Ontario, where we have had the most success.”
Chrome has been the key to their success in K-12, which really jumpstarted after the adoption of testing protocols that required hardware.
“We were the first distributor who took advantage of the Chrome opportunity in the U.S.,” Franklin said. “We then took the Chrome community and skillsets and transported them into Canada, and so we are the market leader in Canada around the Chrome business.” He indicated that they have also done well on the Microsoft platform as well, moving schools from legacy Exchange to Office 365, and also doing well with Skype in the classroom.
“The big message is that the K-12 market is really changing right now,” Franklin stated. “It’s much bigger than just the devices. Schools no longer have to pay for cabling or physical infrastructure, and that’s a home run for people designing wireless infrastructures.”
Next on the priority list is local governments.
“The next jumping-off point for us in Canada is municipal government,” Franklin said. “In the U.S., the state and local government business is absolutely on fire, but in Canada, while there is a fair amount of business that gets transacted in this area, we haven’t been that proactive. There will be a lot more proactive stance out of Mitchell Martin’s team going forward.”
Franklin acknowledged that the federal market in Canada, which is the least similar to the U.S., is the hardest nut to crack.
“In the U.S., we have worked very hard to understand the value of the three federal schedules, and have put the necessary resources and processes in place,” Franklin said. “We understand the process there very well. In Canada, we are still learning how we can participate effectively in the NMSO [National Master Standing Order] and I think right now, we have just a 101 level understanding. Certainly understanding the NMSO better is step number one right now.”
While deep penetration of the federal space in Canada is some time off, Franklin said that SYNNEX solution providers can expect to see the results of their work in other parts of the public market in fairly short order.
“The fruit is already there on the education side, which is a year old,” he said. “Soon, you will start to see us collaborate on other fronts coming up in the next couple of quarters.”