Synnex executives talk about the road ahead after its Westcon-Comstor acquisition.

Lynn Haber

October 18, 2017

6 Min Read
Kevin Murai
Kevin Murai

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Lynn Haber

While in town for the Synnex Inspire 2017 conference that attracted 1,700 attendees, company president and CEO, Kevin Murai, and Bob Stegner, senior vice president of marketing, North America, met up with Channel Partners for a Q&A that put the spotlight on the company’s goals for itself and partners.

Channel Partners: What’s the challenge to bring on new technologies that are a fit for Synnex and its channel partners?

Kevin Murai: We get interested in a new vendor because in general they have a new technology that we believe either has a lot of legs to it or they’ve got a key ingredient to a solution that we’re bringing to market. So we incorporate that into how we go to market with our customers (partners), provide the training … that’s part of our role and we embrace it.

CP: Has the influx of new products into the market, for IoT and other emerging areas, made this job more difficult?

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Synnex’s Kevin Murai

KM: It’s changed a little bit but from a software perspective. Fifteen years ago, Synnex or any distribution company would have all had the same software for our partners. That would have been productivity software, operating system or a given platform security, for example. Today, we’re very excited about expanding our ecosystem of vertical-specific ISVs, those that we consider have a best-of-breed application or a specific capability that really completes a solution that we’re trying to take to market. That’s one change that’s a bit different.

CP: Let’s talk about Westcon-Comstor, and the presence of your latest acquisition at Inspire. What do partners, both Synnex and Westcon-Comstor partners, need to know about the impact on their business?

KM: It’s such a complementary transaction, and as we look forward to where we see growth happening, I’ve identified network and security as growth areas in the past few years, and we’ve grown that business, but that was also one category that we didn’t have as comprehensive a line card as we would have liked to have had. And, with that line card comes the deeper technical capability that you need to have in order to sell it … and I mean being a consultant on the design and configuration.

That’s what Westcon-Comstor brings to the table. To me it’s all about revenue synergy and having a much more complete offering to take to market in particular areas that are growing, and having the assets and the people behind it [who] understand how to sell into the marketplace. We also picked up a net new geography in Latin America.

Synnex customers (partners) now have access to buy a broader selection of product and that’s the same for legacy Westcon-Comstor customers. For Latin America, they’re a specialty distributor but they have broad coverage throughout Latin America — well over 1,000 people, mostly in country.

What I want partners to know is that …

… the growth opportunity is around everything third-platform and the enabling technologies around that.

CP: Is there a road map for a combined organization?

KM: It’s been [a little more than a month] since we closed on the acquisition. We’ve already combined the organization, but the way that we run our business is in a segmented way. Synnex is not a homogeneous organization where everyone is expected to know everything. We have specialists by market, we have specialists by technology platform, and Westcon-Comstor becomes another one of those specializations — even within Westcon-Comstor there are three units: You’ve got Comstor, UCC and security.

We are planning to convert the two systems where Westcon-Comstor will migrate to Synnex’s systems sometime early next year. So right now, partners run on two separate systems, which means that there’s more manual work in getting those synergy sales over the finish line, but that becomes seamless as we migrate them over to our system.

CP: Consolidation has resulted in fewer distributors — is that good for partners?

KM: I believe it is because what we bring to bear is a more comprehensive offering in a more efficient way. If you just take Synnex and Westcon-Comstor as an example of that, partners through a single-source relationship will have access to a much broader range of not just products, but the collective capabilities of the organizations.

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Synnex’s Bob Stegner

Bob Stegner: Consolidation also helps the partner get an increased credit line to purchase more. But mainly what I think it does is it helps them get a total solution from a single distributor.

CP: How is Synnex rethinking its marketing with Westcon-Comstor now in the fold?

BS: Currently we’re coexisting. Partners have two sales reps, and actually, that works out very well in my opinion. If I’m working with Larry at Synnex and I have an opportunity with Palo Alto Networks, then he’s going to hot-link the partner to a sales rep in Westcon-Comstor that’s an expert in Palo Alto products.

We’ve done a lot of internal cross-selling metrics for the sales reps, we’ve done a lot of meetings, we’ve put a team together that’s been out to Westcon-Comstor meeting with all the reps, and we’ve brought the Westcon-Comstor people to South Carolina and trained those 400 reps on the product line. From a marketing standpoint, which is what we’re starting to do now, we’re going to let people know what’s out there, i.e. here are the opportunities that you have with the two companies; just let us know about your opportunity.

The second thing that I can see doing is to see who is going with our current Solvs — where [are] the missing links. There’s so little crossover on our customers, it’s amazing. That has been a plus because we’re able to work with Westcon-Comstor customers (partners) on our Solvs and vice versa.

CP: How does Synnex differentiate itself from other distributors and how do you want partners to see Synnex?

BS: There’s no question about the way we differentiate ourselves — it’s the way we outline our solutions, and what I mean is that if you look at our CloudSolv offering, the health care, if you look at some of the other verticals, such as regulated industries … what Synnex has done is made you an expert in certain fields. You identify the end user, you work with Synnex — and we’ll help you. You have the opportunity to go in and work in an industry that you might not have been in before or maybe weren’t strong in. That makes a big difference for our partners.

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Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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