FlexPod at the Avnet Solution Centre in Tongeren, Belgium

In a previous blog post, on our Avnet Advantage blog, there is the opportunity to watch a complete FlexPod solution be built in 3 minutes at the Avnet Global Solution Centre located in Chandler, Arizona.

Now you can take a deeper dive into the planning and construction of the FlexPod at the Avnet Solution Centre in Tongeren, Belgium. One of the few places in Europe where complete FlexPod solutions can be built and validated.

Watch the video below to take a tour of the centre, and see the FlexPod process.

FlexPod Assembly in EMEA

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This post was written by on March 19, 2015

Flexible lifecycle services helps partners accelerate their success

Joost Masseur, Director EMEA, Lifecycle Solutions at Avnet Services

Avnet provides a range of well-established services to help our Channel Partners manage their customers’ IT equipment throughout its lifecycle.

To stay competitive it’s important Business Partners find new ways to make a real difference to their customers by enhancing the value their organisation can deliver. With its portfolio of lifecycle services, Avnet gives Business Partners greater capacity to do just this. They can contract in any of the services as needed. Then profitably resell them to their customers. Even if they have their own services in-house, Avnet can help where they need a little extra capacity to manage peaks in demand.

Avnet will buy back used hardware, or where it has no economic value Avnet can quote to recycle it responsibly. Where their customers need to procure equipment that has gone end of life, Avnet can usually source hardware from a network of contacts around the globe. Often for short-term projects or for proof-of-concepts it can make more sense to use Avnet’s rental programme. Avnet offers a number of data destruction solutions for retired IT assets. When the asset has gone end of life, Business Partners are encouraged to talk to Avnet about maintenance solutions. In addition, Avnet is able to provide installation and integration services around the globe. The short video on this page explains the range of re-sellable lifecycle services available from Avnet.

Avnet’s experts work alongside Business Partners to understand the business and IT challenges. Using lifecycle tools, resources and expertise, they will ensure they get the right solution tailored to meet the specific challenge.

To find out more about how Avnet can act as an extension to our Business Partners existing resources and support them with any short or long-term skills gaps, watch this short video  or contact the EMEA Lifecycle team on:
Tel: + 44 (0)1926 477 600
Email: lifecycle.emea@avnet.com
Website:  http://avnet.me/L4P

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Posted under IT infrastructure

2015 Vision for the Channel in EMEA

Dieter Lott Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

From Dieter Lott, Vice President, Business Development, EMEA, at Avnet Technology Solutions EMEA

This is how we see 2015 shaping up in terms of technology trends:

#1 Security

Hacking is widespread these days. Even the NASDAQ Stock Market was breached not so long ago. Security continues to be the most important trend in the IT market. It requires continuous changes and advancements. Year after year and into 2015, the channel simply can’t ignore this. With IDC predicting a 30 percent annual growth through to 2017 of smartphones purchased under a BYOD/A (bring your own device/app) approach, next year, the focus will move further into addressing security inside the firewall and not just around perimeter IT defences. Gartner, in its “Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2015” recently called this a “new multifaceted approach” which will lead to “new models of building security directly into applications.” Resellers will need to learn about these new approaches to address this growth area effectively and to help end user businesses overcome this huge challenge of how to secure apps. Distributors can help by enabling partners to take a more holistic data centre-centric approach taking BYOD (bring your own device) and the IOT (the Internet of Things) requirements into account. Such value-added services include not just technical training but also sales enablement activities. The channel needs this kind of help to address the demands of fast evolving data centres – where security and network efficiency is paramount. 

#2 Converged infrastructure, SDN and the data centre skills shortage

The pace of change within data centres is spectacular and this is why software defined networking (SDN) and converged infrastructure are already key discussion points in the IT industry due to the drive for more scalable IT architectures. The convergence of data centre tech and networking tech is causing this significant market shift. We’re experiencing a radical change in how data centre infrastructure is designed and implemented and we’re still in the early stages of adoption of these new technologies. This means there’s also a question over whether the channel has the IT skills to address market demands. It’s clear that data centre infrastructure is becoming increasingly complex as end users embrace a combination of on- and off- premise cloud solutions, as well as platform and software “as-a-service” models. Additionally, businesses are under increasing pressure to align IT costs more effectively to performance, ensuring high demand times for IT are covered without over-investing. In 2015, not only will the channel need to educate themselves on emerging growth markets and technologies such as SDN and converged infrastructure, but they’ll need to address skills shortages. Delivering efficient, reliable converged infrastructure and SDN requires new knowledge. In turn, the role distributors (like us) play will be affected – we will be trusted to provide both enablement and even the skills required. I would suggest that this is an opportunity none of the channel players want to miss.

3# Web-scale IT

According to Gartner: “Web-scale IT is a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting.” Everyone can see the successful cloud computing models the Internet Giants (e.g. Google, Amazon and Facebook) have in place. In 2015, more businesses are going to turn a web-scale IT approach to create and deliver highly scalable IT systems that can, for example, reduce downtime when a website has a busy period such as the “Black Friday” shopping peak without overspending. Ultimately, the software defined data centre will provide such flexibility. However, enterprises will not move their complete operations overnight to such an approach. As such, we predict that in 2015, organisations will place more emphasis on capacity forecasting and analytics – the ability to scale up and down and deliver “bandwidth on demand” within IT networks. The appetite for this is getting stronger, especially where CFOs are concerned as they work more towards moving IT from a CAPEX to an OPEX model, in order to improve their balance sheets and move more to a variable costing model for IT. It is essential the channel is able to offer a full spectrum of procurement, usage and payment models. The ideal situation for a CIO and CFO is a “pay-as-you-go” model. Distribution is well placed to support resellers to develop that offering – this should include both cloud and hosting models, as well as creative financing models.

4# The Internet of Things (IoT) combined with data analytics

The IoT will connect every kind of device and common object – machines, household appliances, watches, vehicles, doors, thermostats, even clothing – to each other and to applications in data centres and in the cloud. In 2015, the channel needs to start identifying its approach to this trend. The IoT will radically change the requirements of computer networks and data centres. What does it mean for a data centre that has to support 30,000 clients today but may have millions in the future? It completely changes the required architecture for that data centre and the network. Security and software to manage that kind of scale hardly exist today. There are opportunities for ISVs to create optimal software products; for distributors to enable the channel and for our partners to offer robust solutions around connectivity, data centre and networking management, security and data analytics, to respond to the needs of the newly connected world.

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Posted under Converged infrastructure, Internet of Things (IoT)

This post was written by on January 21, 2015

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The race to e-Christmas – will it be trouble free?

Christian Magirus, VP at Avnet Services EMEA

A recent IMRG study found the internet is expected to account for 27% of sales for multi-channel retailers during the last quarter of this year. eCommerce has been growing very strongly for more than 10 years, and mobile commerce have added even more impetus to this trend. Last year, Forrester predicted that European online retail sales will grow 11% a year up to 2017. The pace of growth will be fastest, at 18% per year, in southern European countries like Italy and Spain. eCommerce system performance will therefore be a significant source of revenue generation and an especially important area for retailers’ attention as the year draws to a close this year.

 

But how can we really prepare for this onslaught of consumers? Solution providers and value-added resellers (VARs) in EMEA need to turn to the most effective solutions to help their retail clients optimise eCommerce systems for this end-of-year increase in demand.

 

The busiest day overall in terms of internet purchasing is predicted to be the first Monday in December, although the peak day does vary by retailer. Some department store chains in Europe are predicting the busiest day in the run up to Christmas will be ‘Cyber Sunday’, when shoppers, armed with one of the final pay packets of the year, will hit the Internet to buy most of their presents.

 

Solution providers and VARs are in an excellent position to contribute to trouble free online ordering, transaction processing and logistics for their retail clients. These following practical steps are designed to help partners address their retail clients’ business challenges, such as eCommerce system slowdowns and failures:

  • Sort recurring website ‘issues’ now, don’t wait  Partners should work with their retail clients to baseline eCommerce sites before the holiday season begins, helping retailers immediately recognise if something abnormal occurs to the website functionality during the holiday season. Also, auditing sites allows partners and retailers to identify small and recurring errors that could multiply during times of heavy site traffic. Remediating these seemingly small problems before the holiday season, such as simply reducing errors written to logs, can significantly improve site performance during critical periods.
  • Assess sites to reduce risk – Partners should also carefully review retailers’ local and edge caching strategies, which often have not been updated since their sites went live. Any adjustments made should be tested to reduce the risk of a poorly performing site. Additionally, partners should examine retailers’ sites holistically. An assessment of items such as infrastructure stability, bandwidth usage, network backups and other back-end systems can help identify areas that could have a negative impact under increased holiday transactional loads.
  • Improve the omnichannel experience  In this digitally savvy world, customers now expect easy access to eCommerce sites through any device. Partners can work with retailers to incorporate solutions such as responsive web design (RWD), into retailers’ sites. This allows retailers to build one set of source code that can be adapted to any new device – smartphones, tablets, desktop browsers, etc.
  • Proactive site management leads to early detection of issues – Partners should also ensure that their retail clients have quantitative and qualitative tools to help IT support teams proactively manage the site during heavy loads. Actively monitoring user experiences can help retailers rapidly pinpoint issues, such as long-running pages and bad promotion codes, as they arise, reducing their impact to improve the customer experience during the e-Christmas rush.
  • Support for the support teams – As trusted advisors, partners should also discuss customer support team communication strategies with retailers. Customer support teams are often not as familiar with eCommerce sites as they need to be. By making time before the holiday season to gauge the support team’s confidence, retailers can help ensure support teams have 100% proficiency navigating and working on eCommerce sites. If needed, partners and retailers can create refresher training programmes to review overall operations, with an emphasis on explaining changes that have occurred since the previous year’s holiday season.

For more information please email: biz-sol.emea@avnet.com.

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Posted under E-Commerce

This post was written by on November 17, 2014

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“In the channel we need to solve business issues, not just push products”

Wayne Gratton, EMEA SolutionsPath business development director

Recent market insights have shown that growth in the IT market overall is relatively flat. In Western Europe alone the market has only experienced one percent growth, worth €1.513 billion ($2.07bn). Today, growth in IT is about market segments where solutions are packaged up from multiple IT components into single, optimised computing solutions, such as converged infrastructure and virtualisation technologies. For example, commodity servers are growing at a rate of 1.3 percent whereas converged infrastructure is at 54 percent. Vertical markets are also becoming more important to channel market growth. Finance, healthcare, retail and government are presenting bigger opportunities for the channel. In Western Europe alone, government spending on IT is €53 billion ($72bn).

Vertical growth markets

These are growth markets that are pushing the channel towards selling market specialisations and ‘whole’ solutions rather than single IT components. Resellers need to focus on this if they are to stay ahead of the competition. For players in the IT channel to achieve this distributors also need to adapt to a new, more vertically focused consultative role as a key component of channel enablement.

It’s no longer about selling the latest product in the market; it’s about helping customers to achieve their goals facilitated by IT. Distribution has a big part to play to enable the channel to understand their customers’ businesses and IT needs in their vertical markets. How business is conducted and how people work today is completely different to how it was five years ago. The global workforce is more digitally savvy, brought on by more access to information and development of the Internet, social networking and the proliferation of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones in the enterprise. Such trends have forced a big shift in end customers’ needs and consequently, the IT channel is now being driven by having to address business challenges rather than simply pushing products.

Looking at addressing only one area of the mobility trend, for example, like security is a common misunderstanding which results in resellers overlooking areas of IT growth like virtualisation for mobile data storage. In addition, vertical growth sectors like healthcare, where mobility solutions need to be strategically tailored, are often ignored. It’s important for resellers to understand there are different drivers in vertical sectors such as: security features in healthcare are focused around data protection for digital health records over and above supporting trends like remote working.

More consultative role for distributors

All of this is not only changing a reseller’s approach to selling products but it’s changing the role of the distributor. To deliver optimised solutions rather than just standard commodity technologies, distributors now have a wider ecosystem at their finger tips where they deal with everything from large system integrators to managed service providers. A distributor’s enablement strategies should be geared towards how to target and position technologies to meet business challenges rather than just talking about what technologies do in a standalone way.

The value added services a distributor provides are now more about addressing growth markets – whether that’s vertically focused or technology focused like big data – and helping resellers understand these. Whether it’s virtual or physical IT assets, a simple upgrade or a capacity issue, today distributors should be at the centre of the value chain. They should take complex products and help resellers solve business issues their customers encounter. Distributors can help resellers look at how to apply technology rather than the other, more conventional way around of only looking at the technology features.

Channel resellers can leverage a distributor’s global relationships and local expertise in these growth areas to deliver an effective supply chain which is married with local insight on in-country trends to support end customer needs. For this reason, overall, distribution is more consultative as it’s about bringing knowledge and alliances together more than ever before. As consultants, distributors need to facilitate the training resellers requirement to learn more about these markets so they can sell best-of-breed solutions which address business needs, in each vertical sector. This also means distributors need to get involved in business planning to look at key IT trends for growth. This will allow them to take the time to show resellers, partners and end customers how to capitalise on the exciting, ever evolving IT marketplace.

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Posted under Globalisation, SolutionsPath

This post was written by on June 9, 2014

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