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GTDC: Pandemic has accelerated distribution’s digital drive

Newly launched podcast from the industry organisation summarises the position of distributors two years on from the arrival of Covid-19

The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital services across distribution and expedited processes that were expected to be realised in the next couple of years.

That assertion emerged as one of the key talking points in a newly launched podcast from the Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC).

The Beyond Distribution podcast kicked off this week, with GTDC CEO Frank Vitagliano talking to Dave O’Callaghan, principal partner of Vation Ventures, about the value in the channel.

O’Callaghan said the pandemic had accelerated the trends in distribution and the channel was moving faster towards where it had been expected to be in a few years’ time.

“All that has happened during the pandemic has basically accelerated what we predicted for 2025,” he said. “We predicted that the digital world would be more and more important and that digital distribution and the extension across the planet for SaaS [software as a service]-type offerings would be accelerated. And boy, have we seen that with the pandemic.

“Now that everyone’s coming back, I’m seeing a huge trend towards broadening the emerging tech routes to market and, fortunately for distribution, during the pandemic there was a lot of work done with the hyper-scalers, there was a lot of work done on their cloud marketplaces and there was a lot of work done to bolster their enablement for emerging tech companies reaching those routes.”

Vitagliano agreed that distribution had emerged from the pandemic in a good position, but pointed out on the podcast that this was the result of long-term strategies.

“There were enormous investments that had been made over 20 years, 30 years in some cases, in efficiency, in them being able to really do things at scale, with operational excellence,” he said. “That really played itself out during the pandemic.

“In times of volatility, you want somebody that’s well financed and stable who can be resilient and consistent, and those are the things that really matter and those partnerships that have been developed over that period of time help you weather the ups and the downs.”

The two also commented on the involvement of private equity in the industry and the appeal of distribution to investors. As well as some significant private equity deals for some of the largest players, there have been moves by some European disties to go public, with success underlining the appeal of the business model.

O’Callaghan said the current focus was on software and services and the managed service approach was one that made sense, but relied on distribution.

He said that during times of volatility, relationships were tightened and the solution providers and vendors would look more to their distribution partners. It made sense for the channel ecosystem to lean more on disties because it would make success more likely, he said. “The best partners are the ones that are going to succeed through this period of volatility.”

GTDC is planning to release a fresh podcast every three weeks and is encouraging the channel to subscribe to keep up with episodes.

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