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The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) has wrapped its first European face-to-face event for two years, using its Annual Summit EMEA as a chance to give an updated picture of the channel landscape.
The organisation has been sharing views about the position of the distributor tier of the channel and the increasing importance it holds for vendors throughout the pandemic, but due to restrictions and lockdowns, it has not been able to get people in a room together until now.
The event this week in Amsterdam gave Frank Vitagliano, CEO of the GTDC, an opportunity to build on that theme in his keynote, with his speech including praise for the resilience that EMEA distributors have shown throughout the past couple of years.
He added that since 2020, overall sales volumes had shown consistent growth, with that momentum extending this year, seeing sales in Q1 up by 20% compared with the same period two years ago.
“The IT industry is driving business innovation,” said Vitagliano. “Faced with the global tribulations stemming from Covid-19, supply chain and inflation concerns, distributors have been the calm hand steering the ship and outfitting businesses with more technology, service and support options than ever. IT distributors are readily helping companies around the world endure economic and environmental challenges, and actively developing programs and resources that fuel the solutions of tomorrow.”
The event included sessions on sustainability, encouraging more diversity in the channel and a discussion about the evolving relationship between hyperscalers and distribution.
“It’s inspiring to see the complementary ways distributors and channel partners come together at these summits,” said Peter van den Berg, GTDC general manager for EMEA. “Industry alliances and ecosystems are rapidly shifting. Distributors are inseparably connected in those environments and play a key role in driving innovation, efficiency and partner success.”
One of the recent moves the GTDC has made to increase its thought leadership has been the launch of a regular podcast that looks at issues impacting distribution. Recent episodes have touched on training and how best to use data, but the series started with a reminder that this tier of the channel has become a target for investors.
The Beyond Distribution podcast started with GTDC CEO 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 that 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.”