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GTDC praises distribution’s response to the pandemic

The industry group has held its annual summit, with CEO Frank Vitagliano highlighting just how well distribution has navigated the challenges of Covid-19

The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) has used its first virtual global summit to talk about the positive prospects for the channel going forward.

The CEO of the industry organisation, Frank Vitagliano, used his keynote at the summit to reflect on 2020 and to underline why distribution has proved its value so strongly over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said many things had changed since March, but “one thing that has not changed is that the distributors that make up the membership of the GTDC have remained as critical as ever, providing the products, services, support and overall value to enable the entire global IT supply chain”.

“You might wonder how these world-class companies were able to react this quickly and ensure that goods and services remain flowing, while in many industries basics like paper goods, cleaning supplies and even food supply chains are clearly disrupted,” said Vitagliano.

“The foundational elements that have been in place for decades, many of which get taken for granted – such as inventory management, logistics, transactional support financing and general operational excellence – are what enabled GTDC members to quickly and efficiently react to the pandemic,” he added.

Vitagliano said distribution did not stand still and there were continued investments in cloud, emerging technologies and digital services.

Rich Hume, CEO of Tech Data, said the move to everything as a service was driving change and there was also an ongoing need for security, analytics, the internet of things (IoT) and mobility.

“These are trends that make up most, if not all, of the growth in the future of IT. So what is distribution doing now to assist in that? Well, those that are at scale are building their own marketplaces,” he said. “A lot of the accelerated growth sits within these new platforms so there are big investments by many of us to make sure we’re making available the vehicles to serve the new content.”

Hume said it was also increasing the pace of its investments in security, analytics and IoT to keep up with vendor demands and to reap the growth in those areas. The last area the distributor is looking to ensure it is on top of is customer experience, which is a key component of a successful digital transformation effort.

GTDC’s Vitagliano said that although it was hard to predict exactly what the “new normal” would look like, it was clear that distribution was in a solid position.

He referred to its most recent research from last month, Distribution’s edge: An economic analysis of routes to market for ICT products and services, that revealed the classic two-tier model, where the skills and assets of distributors and resellers are used, is the best way for vendors to get higher returns from their go-to-market strategy.

Looking ahead, Vitagliano said the same reasons that helped the channel weather the coronavirus pandemic would mean it would prosper in 2021.

“The two questions I hear most frequently are, ‘What will the new normal look like?’ and ‘How will distribution continue enabling the transformation we are seeing in the IT marketplace?’ Although the answers to those questions will evolve throughout 2021, the one thing you can be certain about is that if history is any indicator, and it usually is, GTDC members will undoubtedly provide new value as they’ve done year after year, and very significantly in 2020,” he said.

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