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Coronavirus: Distributors can take a lead

Head of the Global Technology Distribution Council shares his thoughts on the Covid-19 crisis

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Frank Vitagliano, CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), has spoken about the role that distribution can play in the coronavirus crisis.

Vitagliano posted a blog on the subject which highlighted the channel’s proven ability to adapt, evolve and add value to supplier relationships.

“The IT ecosystem has a unique place in society in that it historically fuels recoveries and enables efficiencies unlike any other,” he wrote. “Distributors have always played a central role in these recoveries, demonstrating rock-solid reliability as well as the flexibility to emerge both stronger and better – and ultimately as a consistent central force in helping the ecosystem return to stability and growth.”

Vitagliano said the current situation is so unprecedented that it is hard to compare it with previous issues, such as the millennium bug and the challenging times the industry endured after the 2008 global recession.

Most distributors have already set up internal teams to work on their response to the coronavirus and Vitagliano said that at a time like this, the core competencies of the disties will come to the fore.

“Supply chain proficiency will resume faster out of necessity as production and demand cycles ramp again,” he wrote. “Technical support, global logistics, creative financing and new types of value-added services will all play a role.

“One obvious requirement that has emerged pertains to enabling the remote workforce. Distributors are a foundation and source for all these crucial elements of recovery. They have already implemented measures to keep business flowing, mitigate pain points and address today’s most pressing channel questions.”

Before cornonavirus struck, the GTDC had carried out research that indicated the sector would enjoy growth over the next few years thanks to the strength of its relationships with vendors.

Those partnerships with both vendors and resellers are crucial at a time like this, said Vitagliano.

“In all my years in the channel, with major vendors and a large solution provider, the central role of distributors has never disappointed,” he wrote. “They’re in the business of long-standing partnerships that endure – and strengthen – through good times and bad. Those traits matter even more at a time like today, globally, without modern precedent.”

Vitagliano also commented on the skills possessed by those in distribution, saying: “Technology, processes and people will all matter in ways we’ve never seen. People I’ve met, worked with and engaged throughout distribution and the channel reaffirm and represent a sense of order to what can be done and how to achieve it.”

He finished his column with some positive thoughts about the future, providing some reassurance to those wondering when the coronavirus crisis will end.

“The forms of ‘disruption’ that we know and love in IT will return,” he wrote. “We are going to navigate our way in a manner that takes new thinking as well as strong leadership, in addition to proven partnerships. Vendors and solution providers can count on distributors, as always, to bring this vision into focus and reality.”

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