D&H MID-ATLANTIC SUMMER TECHNOLOGY CONFERENCE — As it celebrates it's centennial as a continuously operating American company, D&H Distributing has morphed from a family business that retreaded solid vehicle tires starting in 1918 into a technology channel company that has supported its reseller, systems integrator, VAR and MSP customers for more than two decades.
And as the company holds its 2018 Mid-Atlantic Summer Tech Conference here in bucolic central Pennsylvania, those roots in helping and serving their reseller customers seem to be deep and thriving.
Some 600 D&H partners from across the region packed the product and technology seminars and briefings, learning more about new technologies and gaining more knowledge about existing technologies they are already offering to their small- and medium-size business (SMB) customers.
But at the heart of the conference here at the Hershey Lodge and Convention Center, in the town that gave birth to Hershey's Chocolate, the emphasis was clearly on providing the deepest customer service the company can give to its partners.
"We're seeing a continuing transition of our customers going from traditional resellers to true MSPs and business influencers," Peter DiMarco, vice president of VAR sales for D&H, told Channel Futures. "That's really been the main transition we've seen in the last couple years."
D&H continues to help its reseller and VAR partners become the IT directors and managers for SMBs today, but the company also is helping them move upmarket as those VARs and MSPs also become SMB strategy consultants, and deployment and service providers as well, said DiMarco. D&H is moving more into services and the cloud in response, he added.
"[D&H partners] have to rely on technologies that are available to them on mobile platforms and that can scale up and be done, so cloud has become a centerpiece for how they do business," said DiMarco. "Cloud is being used more and more by SMBs," often more easily than at larger companies where there can be more resistance to the move due to security concerns and other factors.
"There is a spectrum of SMBs on the cutting edge of using the cloud that tend to be younger companies and their younger staffs," he said. "In those organizations, we see a really good adoption of the cloud" over the last five years. "Many of the younger leaders of growing SMBs have grown up in a cloud-as-a-service world. They're more adaptable to these trends and take advantage of these technologies."
Not all SMB customers, of course, will want to take that route, he said.
"The good news is we've got training and enablement programs to help those VARs scale up those [needs]," said DiMarco. "The majority of the SMB space is somewhere in the middle" in terms of the cloud.
Ultimately, says DiMarco, D&H sees its responsibility to its partners and their customers as helping them to continue to grow and thrive in their businesses. That means providing continuing technology education, support services and helping to introduce new technology products to better serve customers.
"We are here to help build pipelines and growth as they move forward," he said.
One partner, Tom Warren, a managed network services specialist with Phillips Office Solutions of Middletown, Pennsylvania, told Channel Futures that those value-added services have been a boon to his company and its end-user customers.
Phillips has been working with D&H for more than 20 years, which has intensified in the last five years as the two businesses homed in on Phillips' requirements for serving its customers, he said.
"They were able to meet our needs both in support and service," said Warren. "From my standpoint I need things, and a lot of time I need things fast, as well as effective and knowledgeable support. D&H is there and supports me."
About 100 companies – including Microsoft, Cisco, Intel, HP, HP Enterprise, Brother, Lenovo and Global Knowledge – participated in the expo.