Avnet Technology Solutions has brought together all of its training and enablement tools together under a new single roof, the Avnet Knowledge Network, a site built by the distributor that aims to combine all of its training with support in a social community.
In the past, Avnet has offered training and support across a variety of its vendors, of course. But the fact that it was spread out over a variety of sites and places on Avnet’s main site made it more challenging that it needed to be for solution providers to find the answers they were looking for. In fact, Pete Rendek, digital marketing manager at Avnet, wouldn’t hazard a guess on how many different places partners had to go looking for resources.
“We’ve had a lot of sites,” he said. “We recognized the problem, and went and fixed it.”
Available today to Avnet resellers in Canada and the U.S., AKN currently includes the distributor’s supply resources for about 12 vendors, including IBM, HP, EMC, NetApp, VMware, Riverbed, Brocade, and Veeam, with the plan being for it cover all of the distributor’s vendors going forward. In addition to the already-live vendors, Rendek said there are “a fistful of others just starting down the path.”
The site is customizable for each reseller and each employee at that reseller, and is auto-populated with vendors and lines based on the products the solution provider has authorizations for via Avnet. That customizability and the “one-stop shop” approach set AKN apart, said Gavin Miller, vice president of sales and marketing solutions for ATS.
“The channel has many routes to market for many supplies, and there are many suppliers making up the solutions they deliver. They need a platform to distill that all down to what’s important to them, and [Avnet Knowledge Network] will really help in that evolution of the channel. Regardless of your role in the channel, you get what’s relevant to you.”
The distributor is stressing that it offers training and enablement tools for a wide variety of types of solution providers, including VARs, MSPs, integrators, and ISVs.
As well as training, AKN serves as a support and knowledge hub, in essentially a forum-type setting. Solution providers can pose questions on the site, to be answered by the distributor’s own technical staff, those from the vendor(s) involved, or perhaps from their solution provider peers. Questions that are frequently addressed, or where there’s a consensus reached on the response, can be marked as “official answers,” giving them prominence on the site and in search results within AKN.
Avnet Knowledge Network is currently available to Canadian and U.S.-based solution providers, though Miller said the concept will likely be taken international over time.
“Our typical approach is to share best practices within Avnet, and we’ll certainly make our lessons learned available to our peers,” he said.