Channel Post speaks with Vimal Kocher, Managing Director at Arrow ECS about how the company continues to evolve with the changing trends in distribution. Kocher also shares that Arrow values the role of partners and in turn provides them with all-rounded support.
Value added distribution has evolved over the years, how would you evaluate your journey so far and where do you stand currently in terms of your product portfolio and channel base?
We have evolved to act as a trusted technology partner for our solution providers. As an aggregator, enabler and ecosystem builder, Arrow is committed to helping solution partners transition from product/box-selling to adopt solution-selling approach that addresses end-customers’ concerns.
Today, Arrow is able to provide SMEs with complete Unified Threat Management (UTP) solutions including firewall, VPN, anti-malware, IPS/IDS, URL filters and application controls that also integrate switching and WLAN functionalities. We monitor this fast evolving market for the latest innovations to ensure our portfolio is aligned with the latest market trends and meets the needs of every organization, regardless of their size, capabilities or location.
Arrow has also developed a world-leading security portfolio of over 70 vendors across security, networking and mobility, as well as ‘plug-in’ vendors to complement key partners.
In your view, where is the regional distribution market heading?
Distribution is no longer just about logistics and buying power. Now it is more about the added value and service that the distributor can offer, whether in terms of pre-sales and proof of concept or marketing, training and support. The challenge for distributors is how they can serve the complete spectrum. So, to be successful they need to invest in both infrastructure and intellectual property.
What value does Arrow bring to its channel partners?
Arrow has continued to build a channel-centric infrastructure that enables it to provide true value-added support and real assets to the channel community. Education forms a key part of our approach and Arrow is an Authorized Training Centre for many vendors.
We have one of the industry-leading teams of pre-sales and post-sales engineers which enable us to support entire technology and business transformation cycle involving vendors, solutions partners, and customers.
We operate as a trusted advisor to our resellers, supporting and enabling them to grow their business and maximize their investments. We help them to work on their businesses, supporting the channel community to build out services-based business models as new opportunities arise. In this way Arrow acts as a “Fast Track” growth accelerator for introducing new vendors to its customers in a rapidly changing market. Our qualified staff conduct classroom, on-site and remote training to provide resellers and end customers with the accreditation and certification they require.
What programs, incentives and activities do you have in place to enable your partners?
Our enablement programs include bi-weekly product/technology introduction training sessions which make it easier for solution providers to identify potential gaps in their solution portfolio and get them on board with new offerings.
In addition to offering technical competency training, our go-to-market programs also focus on providing solution partners with training on sales enablement, soft-skills and solution-selling approach. We help them gain deep understanding of our value proposition, improve their selling skills and market capabilities.
We also offer a special recruitment program to invite new solution partners to tap into our long-standing technology ecosystem and provide them with immediate access to a vast range of global technology portfolio.
Going forward, we will also introduce incentives and bundle offers to enable solution providers in growing their business. To strengthen rapport and collaboration with solution providers, we plan to engage with them through monthly team building activities.
Why should vendor partners work with you and what edge do you provide them?
As a VAD, we work as an extension of our vendor partner teams, providing them with strategic and tactical marketing support, in addition to education and support for their channel partner networks. This approach enables technology companies to scale their operations and grow customer base in their chosen markets.
We help solution provides to build and deliver the resources that customers demand: from technical resources and customer-specific support through to hardware swap models. This includes 24/7 global technical field support, education and on-site support in 68 countries.
We differentiate ourselves through our constant focus on increasing support and services capabilities in order to provide the best support to our solution providers, helping them streamline and accelerate their activities to increase end-user satisfaction.
Credit insurance, bank finance, project financing, delayed payments are some of challenges that the industry is groping at. How do you tackle these issues and lend support to your partners?
We have long-standing relationships with most of our partners and haven’t faced major issues in terms of payment delays etc. However, when such issues do arise we work with solution providers on a range of financing and leasing plans that help them invest in new initiatives, boost competitiveness, improve cash flow, shorten sales cycle or simplify budgeting.
When required, we consider a range of programs including open account credit, deferral payment, extended payment terms, revolving line of credit, assignment of proceeds program etc.
Last but not least, what can partners expect from you going forward?
Partners front-end the customers and are therefore of utmost importance to us. They can expect our continued support in every respect. Regular and effective communication is key to any business relationship and this is why we put emphasis on having weekly face-to-face meeting with our solution providers to facilitate progress.