"We continue to think about trusted advisors' best interests," Avant's CEO said. "We're not here trying to figure out how to squeeze more margin."

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

July 27, 2023

16 Slides

The technology services distributor (TSD) community must look outside its own ranks to bring in new partners and end customers if it wants to stay relevant, Avant CEO Ian Kieninger told Channel Futures.

Kieninger, who co-founded the Chicago-based firm 2009, addressed a share of hot button topics in a new interview with Channel Futures..

One such topic surrounded pressure many TSDs face to increase the amount of commission dollars they pass through to their sales partners from vendors.  Kieninger told Channel Futures that while price compression will naturally happen to some extent in any consolidating and maturing industry, he warned of “share-shifting” that could hold back the industry.


Avant’s Ian Kieninger

“The lifeline to our success in the future is creating and growing market share for the vendors,” Kieninger told Channel Futures. “If our community of TSDs is not doing that, and we’re just share-shifting between each other, the vendors are going to run out of patience. That’s not what they want. They want us to grow the pie, not just chase the pie between each other.”

Avant and its peers sit between technology suppliers and technology advisors, whom Avant refers to as “trusted advisors.” It negotiates and holds contracts with those vendors and assists its agent partners with training and sales resources to reach end customers. Those resources include its Pathfinder pre-sales engagement tool, which Avant plans to expand a fourth time later this year.

Kieninger fielded questions from Channel Futures about the future of TSDs and their resources, the issue of channel share-shift and the future of Avant’s technology portfolio. His interview comes a few weeks after Telarus CEO Adam Edwards sat down with Channel Futures to discuss many of the same questions.

Ian Kieninger: Avant’s Focus — Contact Center, Security

Regarding technology, Kieninger said Avant is putting its biggest focus on contact center and security. And artificial intelligence for the time being will function as a capability integrated into those aforementioned offerings.

“AI is plugging into the solutions we’re selling. It’s indirectly a product we sell, as contact center becomes BPO and continues that evolution. We’ve got a lot of legs there,” said Kieninger, who said Avant is keeping a focus on where its partners can actually monetize AI.

To read the full transcript of Ian Kieninger’s interview with Channel Futures, see the 16 images above.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email James Anderson or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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