At the recent Synnex Strategic Partner Summit, held in May during the 2016 BMW Charity Pro-Am (which is presented by Synnex Corp.) in Greenville, S.C., integrators were treated to three days of championship golf, networking opportunities, entertainment — and of course a little business mixed in.
Beginning with a day of golf and an evening reception that featured such celebrities as Jim McMahon, Rob Morrow, the band Hootie and the Blowfish and many more, the event was aimed primarily at pro-AV integrators; but physical security integrators were also represented by attendees such as Chuck Wilson, executive director of NSCA (National Systems Contractors Association), Craig Patterson of PSA and a few others. Not only were the messages and lessons on point for both AV and security integrators, but Synnex will team with NSCA and PSA in the fall for a conference aimed more specifically at the security integrator and how the distributor can help them increase RMR, get more dollars from network technologies, services and much more. That event, called Pivot to Profit, will be held October 25-26 in Dallas.
The Strategic Partner Summit gave a taste of what security integrators could expect from that event, with a session on the last morning that demonstrated the myriad ways Synnex can help integrators (whether AV, security or IT) get more dollars from those areas they may be less comfortable or familiar with, such as network management, cybersecurity, managed services, building control and the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT).
“The world is changing and technology is evolving at incredible speed,” Synnex Senior Vice President of Product Management TJ Trojan told the gathering. “The market is tough right now. Traditional IT is not growing. Now it is about IoT, or machine-to-machine, big data and the cloud. It is important to be able to expand the portfolio you provide to your customers because it is a connected world…. We want to help you expand on what you do today by bringing new technologies and ecosystems, no matter what business you are supporting. Growth is coming out of new, evolving technologies. If you are not doing that, you are not growing.”
From cybersecurity, to financing, to being an “extra set of hands” on a project, to lending networking and IT expertise, Synnex went through the various ways they could be of help to the integrator. “We want you to feel like we are really interested in helping you come up with creative ways to make things happen,” said Sandi Stambaugh, vice president of product management for Synnex. “We are listening to you.” The morning session also included a “speed-dating” session where attendees could learn about various vendor solutions.
Later, SDM was given exclusive interviews with many of the division heads within Synnex to dive deeper into the ways Synnex is poised to help its integrator customers.
Alan Buttery, senior vice president, financial operations, explained some of the creative ways Synnex is helping to finance the newer types of installations. “Technology convergence is a big deal today, but that means customers are getting into more capital intensive situations and having to finance more things. Installations are getting much more complicated. My job is to find ways to finance that. Our RISE program leverages the customer’s banking relationships, accounting and back office services (including credit collection, accounts payable, inventory management, and managing cash flow). We will take the credit risk for them so they don’t have to float the cash.”
Buttery said that in a given year Synnex finances over a billion dollars in alternate credit, particularly for small and medium-sized customers.
With its roots in IT distribution, it is logical that cybersecurity is a cornerstone of what Synnex offers to integrators, and Kirk Nesbitt, vice president of design and support services, outlined some of what Synnex provides.
“The IT security lifecycle is an ongoing set of services and products. We have built that security lifecycle so the integrator doesn’t need to have that expertise onsite. When they are already putting products on the customer’s network it is a great time to offer this.”
The managed service allows the integrator to leverage Synnex to help them keep firewalls up to date, provide log archiving and monthly reporting. “Physical security integrators have gotten very aware that their devices are running on an operating system that needs to be patched and secured, just like a PC on the network,” Nesbitt added. “They are in the ideal spot to do that.”
Cybersecurity is one area where both AV and physical security integrators can really use a strong partner, added Chuck Wilson of NSCA. “Both security and AV integrators are scared to death about cybersecurity because if we make a mistake, it could have huge complications.”
Synnex wants to take some of that fear away, Trojan added. “They shouldn’t be afraid. This is an opportunity, not a threat. If they are providing physical security to a customer, they also have the capability to offer other services.”
Eddie Franklin, vice president public sector at Synnex, talked about body worn cameras, whether for police officers or even teachers in a classroom. Synnex has support in place to help integrators —whether that means providing the mobile solution to facilitate solutions like this or resources to help integrators help their customers find funding to pay for the project.
“There is a lot of funding coming up for security in the K-12 space,” Franklin said. “If I had a security practice today I would be focused on building those relationships now with schools and campuses because the money will be there.”
Tim Acker, vice president of mobility solutions at Synnex, added that the types of networking and connectivity solutions Synnex provides can help integrators with the public sector solutions Franklin mentioned, and beyond. They can also help with managing server closets, remote networks and other IT assets, as an adjunct to a security project.
“End users are looking for smart solutions and if an integrator is already managing a portion of the facility, how can they help them manage this as well? They don’t have to be experts on the network. We can augment their team. Just because they don’t know it doesn’t mean they have to leave that opportunity on the table.
“We look at this as an opportunity for customers with great relationships with end users to expand. They can come to us and say, ‘This is what I am trying to solve.’ We can do delivery with them, or even find them partners. These guys are continuously pressed on margins, so being able to expand that basket is a big opportunity, because they already have technical skills.”
While the Partner Summit gave the mostly AV integrator audience a taste of these opportunities, Pivot to Profit will get more into the meat of things, from cybersecurity to financing methods, RMR opportunities, and IoT implications specific to the physical security integrator.
“Our research projects by 2020 the building and automation side will grow by leaps and bounds,” Wilson added. “Security and AV integrators are not only worried about cybersecurity, but also what resources they need to be relevant when we shift to the cloud and we are all doing more of a service-based offering. Everybody is worried about the same business model stuff. It is the same issues, but different technologies. We all need the help of a strong IT partner and that is what Synnex can do.”
In fact, Wilson predicts that in the future there may not be “IT” and “AV” and “Security” integrators. There is convergence happening on the integrator side as well and perhaps they will all just be “technology solutions project managers.”
No matter which end of integration they are on, the need to solve business problems and increase capabilities is what Synnex drove home again and again at the Partner Summit, and will again at Pivot to Profit, Stambaugh said. “We are poised to support our partners.”
Visit www.nsca.org/p2p/ for more information on attending Pivot to Profit. — By Karyn Hodgson, SDM Senior Editor