Organization’s new CEO shares insights on industry’s evolution and expectations as the world’s distribution leaders convene with top vendor channel execs and market analysts
The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC), the world’s largest international consortium of technology distributors, recently concluded its 2019 Summit conference sessions focused on “new realities and emerging opportunities.” Frank Vitagliano, appointed CEO of the GTDC in April, opened the event with his vision for the organization, its priorities and focus areas – all coming at a pivotal time for distributors as they accelerate value and business with both vendor partners and solution providers.
“Technology distributors are in a much different position today,” Vitagliano said to the gathering in San Francisco of about 200 executive attendees, including those from nearly 50 vendor companies. “They’ve successfully navigated decades of dramatic innovation and change across the industry – from all standpoints, including through the services and products they offer to the adoption of entirely new business models.”
Steady Growth, Promising Outlook
GTDC members today generate approximately $150B in worldwide sales annually. The organization partners with The NPD Group to aggregate U.S. member sales-out data for its Distributor Track, which yields deep insight into channel sales and market trends down to the SKU level across 250 categories. This B2B database reveals solid growth for distributors year-to-date in 2019, with total year-over-year hardware and software sales increasing 5% for the period ending July 2019. The fastest-growing categories ranged from commercial software and cloud platform services to PCs and servers.
The 2019 GTDC Summit covered a broad spectrum of topics centered on how markets are evolving, the critical success factors and ways distributors are enabling both vendors and solution providers. In addition to featuring a panel of distribution leaders on their expectations for the future, attendees also heard from new types of customers in a session highlighting unique IT views from within prominent end-customer enterprises as well as from channel partners on the B2B front lines. Lydia Boussour, senior U.S. economist with Oxford Economics, provided a compelling look at economic factors to watch for in the months ahead, and global futurist/innovation strategist/author Anders Sörman-Nilsson gave his incomparable takes on “Digtal Adaptation and Human Transformation.”
“Everyone knows technology fuels the success of businesses – big and small – in every part of the world,” Vitagliano said. “What’s less commonly understood, outside channel circles, is how much distributors contribute to the equation, well beyond getting the right products and solutions shipped and delivered on time. Value-added services differentiate distributors today, and that reality will become even more pronounced as the digital era unfolds.”
Looking Ahead at Distribution 2025
Vitagliano presented preliminary findings of a GTDC-commissioned study on the 2025 outlook for technology distributors based on surveys and interviews with industry leaders from multiple types of channel-driven and channel-enabled businesses, including GTDC members, vendors (both legacy and emerging), solution providers/system integrators, venture capital firms as well as end users. The vast majority project significant compounded annual growth with distributors over the next five years. Study participants also shed light on the evolution of distribution services and technology growth categories through them. Aggregate responses rank virtual warehouse support for SaaS/cloud solutions, global logistics and integration services at the top, along with partner enablement, recruitment and financing as key business drivers. The full Distribution 2025 outlook report is slated for release by the end of September.
“I’ve worked closely with distributors throughout my career, including from both vendor partner and solution provider perspectives” Vitagliano pointed out. “The value never stops rising – in step with technological advances as well as B2B demands, whether up- or down-stream in the industry. It’s prime time for partnerships to flourish, and the GTDC is committed to helping pave the way through all we do, whether in events, training, analytics or best-practice-focused forums.”
Summit 2019 signified “a new beginning for the GTDC,” Vitagliano added, “in an industry poised to thrive through continuous evolution and transformation. We’re ready, connected and on top of the trends and unprecedented opportunities ahead for the channel and technology distributors.”
About The GTDC
The Global Technology Distribution Council is the industry consortium representing the world’s leading tech distributors. GTDC members drive an estimated $150B in annual worldwide sales of products, services and solutions through diverse business channels. GTDC conferences support the development and expansion of strategic supply-chain partnerships that continually address the fast-changing marketplace needs of vendors, end customers and distributors. GTDC members include AB S.A, Almo Corporation, Arrow Electronics, CMS Distribution, Compuage Infocom Ltd., Computer Gross Italia, D&H Distributing, ELKO, Exclusive Networks, Ingram Micro, Intcomex, Logicom, Siewert & Kau, SiS Technologies, SYNNEX, Tarsus, Tech Data , TESSCO Technologies, Inc., TIM AG and Westcon-Comstor.