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MicroScope at 40: David Watts, TD SYNNEX

As MicroScope celebrates its 40th anniversary, we look back and wonder about what will happen next. The key theme that links all four decades is change – and that has been seen across all parts of the channel

Anniversaries are an opportunity to take stock, celebrate achievements and look ahead. David Watts, managing director and senior vice-president, UK & Ireland at TD SYNNEX, is the latest to share his thoughts about the channel and the journey it has been on over the past few decades. Here are his answers to our questions.

How do you think the channel has changed over the past 40 years?

Everything has changed and nothing has changed. Back then, the channel operated a very simplistic trading model; you bought products and sold them at a margin and – if you were smart – you added some value along the way.

Today, the technology has advanced to a degree that was unimaginable in 1982 and the sophistication and capability for the channel and its business models have become highly intricate and interdependent. The IT channel is now providing an essential service to the entire public and private sector and making a major contribution to the economy.

What hasn’t changed is the need to add value, to give customers the best possible experience and to continually embrace, learn about and deliver new technology solutions. It’s as essential today as it was 40 years ago to continually earn the right to the customer’s or partner’s business. We are still are and always will be growing, learning, evolving and changing.

Another important change is that the IT channel has started to become much more mature and serious in its approach to areas such as sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion. That’s a really positive change and one that we must all work to strengthen and continue.

Where do you think the channel is going?

The channel is becoming more mature, measured and sophisticated. It’s also becoming more automated, efficient and robust, and more cooperative. It’s becoming more conscientious about its role and responsibilities from a business and social perspective, the way it treats people, and how its actions affect the planet.

I believe the channel will continue to specialise and partner more to deliver a better customer experience. We see that happening now. Another trend that we also see continuing is more and more of our customers developing their own IP and services that are core to their business model. It is important to remember, though, that local and small businesses continue to rely on a local reseller partner as their IT department – and that won’t change.

What we are seeing change rapidly is a move to a more energy-efficient and sustainable industry and one that is more diverse, equitable and inclusive. By doing that, we will become more creative, imaginative and innovative, and even better able to deliver real benefits with technology solutions and services.

How important is the channel?

It’s absolutely vital – not only to the day-to-day functioning of the economy, but to the running of every organisation and the daily lives of just about every individual. We saw this writ large at the start of the pandemic, when private and public sector organisations had to move fast to adapt to new circumstances. The channel was there, understood their needs and was able to move fast.

And the reason that was able to happen is that the channel is the trusted adviser on IT to the UK public and private sector. Collectively, we provide the solutions and the essential services that underpin economic and societal activity.

It is now impossible to imagine our work and personal lives without connectivity services, the systems and processes that keep the transport network running, that provide access to public services and protect the networks of hospitals and emergency services, that keep businesses of all shapes and sizes running. It is impossible to imagine a world without personal and group video-conferencing.

It’s not just the technology that is essential to all of this – it’s the channel, too. As the digitisation of our world continues and as we become even more dependent on the cloud and on technology and systems, the channel will become even more essential.

What we define as “the channel” may change, though. What started to develop as a fairly simple supply chain four decades ago has already become a hugely complex ecosystem of incredibly capable organisations, all with their own specialisations and expertise. That evolution will continue and as we become more advanced, we will also become more interconnected and interdependent.

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