Synnex Varnex 2011: Six Questions for Kevin Murai
The VAR Guy was given some one-on-one time with Synnex CEO and President Kevin Murai during the Synnex Varnex 2011 event in Las Vegas. Our resident blogger had just six questions for Murai, all of which received complex answers. The VAR guy has the scoop on Synnex’s future, SMB, the cloud and why Synnex doesn’t quite stick out like all those other big distribution companies.
Read on for Murai’s thoughts …
1) Where is Synnex succeeding and where have there been difficulties?
“We’ve been evolving our business in a couple of key areas. We’re investing in different capabilities that help drive higher levels of sales — high-growth technology, [such as] enterprise storage [or] niche markets like pro AV and digital signage.” Synnex has invested in dedicated practices as well, and built out platforms such as its managed print platform, which, Murai said, has been “highly successful. Last quarter we handled over 1 billion impressions.”
When it came to road bumps, “collectively, when we look at our resellers, a lot of them are experts in their areas, [but] they can’t be everything for everybody. [Synnex] strives to do that [and] help partners wade through the biggest technological growth opportunities,” he said. “We’ll … provide those capabilities to [enable partners] to take them to market.” For example, a VAR may have a lot of potential in the healthcare vertical but not all the know-how to attack it, so Synnex could step in and train the VAR on healthcare practices.
That conversation dovetailed nicely into The VAR Guy’s second question…
2) What key verticals do you see currently driving Synnex?
“No. 1 is health care. The other one is government,” Murai said. “We also have a practice in retail … that help smaller retails be effective.” Synnex also focuses “on periphery verticals around healthcare [such as] two-to-five-physician practices. We also have solutions around urgent care and regional care [for] remote hospitals.”
3) What does Synnex offer that those other big distribution companies don’t?
“Our goal is to be at the forefront of the changes and make the best of it. I think we’ve be more innovative and creative than most competitors and that helps us grow our vendors’ and resellers’ business,” he said. “It grows our business too. Our performance over the last couple of years shows Synnex has grown faster than the overall market. Our customers really do believe we are not just a distributor, but we’re a technologist at heart as well.”
4) Considering Synnex’s size, can you explain why Synnex has been relatively quiet when compared to other big distribution companies?
“The company culture here is a pretty humble culture. What you’re going to find is … the relationships we have is much more friendly and intimate than what I have seen in other places,” he said. “It’s a big advantage we have. It’s people dealing with people. I don’t want to put out a press release if it’s not newsworthy. We put out a release when we have something important we want to talk about.”
In other words, he said, “Quality, not quantity.”
5) Is cloud the future or a passing fad?
“Cloud is the most important change happening right now. There are some that dismiss it [but] for an SMB that doesn’t really have the time to worry about their computing environment, [the cloud] promises things like, ‘Hey, I don’t have to have on-premise hardware.'” The SaaS model of cloud technology provides the groundwork for a mix-and-match cloud model that has laser-focused market appeal, he said. For example, a VAR working with Synnex via CLOUDSolv can easily set up a cloud marketplace that can be a portal not just for standard services, but also for custom services for custom markets, such as K-12 educational offerings, accounting, sales or other department-ready offerings. Murai noted Synnex is unique in that, “We’ve written APIs to all service providers [so VARs] can provide in one place,” which, additionally, comes with a single invoice. Murai boasts Synnex has the most comprehensive cloud solution portfolio to date.
6) How has the consumerization of IT trend affected Synnex?
Synnex has a number of ongoing efforts to support mobile devices, Murai said, including the security of those devices. “We understand those challenges and we work with both vendors and resellers to help work through them. We’ve also invested in a mobile app development team. It’s easy to integrate e-mail, but more challenging is, How do I integrate business workflow? We enable that by building custom apps for vendors and resellers,” Murai said. Plus, Synnex has become relatively “nimble” in the marketplace when it comes to addressing shifts in technology, he said: “We’re coming to the forefront in being more innovative and creative in things that help to evolve customers’ business and vendors’ business alike.”
There’s plenty more Varnex news on the way, so keep your browser window open. The VAR Guy has another exciting day ahead of him.