Iain Shaw, Brigantia Partners commercial director, reflects on a question that recently emerged to him and thinks about the organisation's place in the Channel
I was asked an interesting question at Channel Live this week about how Brigantia Partners had won The Buying Group of the Year Award for 2017 at the recent Terra Computer UK annual awards dinner beating off competition from both Synaxon UK and Network Group. The questioner did not feel that Brigantia was involved in hardware anymore having morphed in to a wholesale distributor of broadband, ethernet and managed services off the back of our traditional subscription partner benefits programme and community.
The question did make me think for a second as I had not really thought about it before but after a second I collected my thoughts and pointed to the pop up banner on our stand that listed all our vendor partners in alphabetical order with the Terra Computer logo bottom right. It is very simple, I said, as you can see we no longer have any relationships with any of the broadline distributors for the simple reason when it comes to hardware we can add no value to their offer and they can add no value to ours. Hardware is such a commodity item these days and there is a blurred line between what the traditional broadliners and large etailers offer.
The only hardware that Brigantia does offer on wholesale distribution terms supports our broadband, ethernet and managed services. However, we know that our partners do need to source more general hardware themselves and that they need to differentiate themselves from the large multiple retailers and etailers. To this end we loved the story of Wortmann AG and their OEM brand Terra Computer. 30 years trading in Germany, a massive family run enterprise with both a loyal and dedicated workforce but only trading in the independent channel and not interested in large multiple retailers and etailers. One of the largest OEM Intel server builders and a massive Microsoft OEM. It was obvious to us that the Wortmann way of doing business was an answer to the prayers of the long-suffering UK independent channel. Add to this a growing UK sales and technical team based out of Warwick headed by a couple of channel veterans and you have a winning recipe.
"These days and there is a blurred line between what the traditional broadliners and large etailers offer"
I first went to Germany to meet the directors of Wortmann nearly four years ago and I am a eulogist for the both Wortmann and Terra Computer. So simple answer – focus – Brigantia Partners may not be absolutely focussed on general hardware sales through our wholesale distribution division but as a partner benefit we focus on one OEM brand – Terra Computer – we recommend one Distributor – Wortmann. We would thus never expect to win a buying group award that involved any traditional UK distributor and tier 1 hardware vendor brands but due to our focus we would be disappointed not to win the new annual Terra Computer Buying Group Award!
To round off I would add, on the subject of focus, that this applies to the way we work with the vendors for which we hold UK master distribution rights. We will have completed our portfolio of cyber security services by the end of Q4 with two more vendor launches at our annual event in London on the 15th of November. We drive demand for these excellent services both to and through our partner resellers and MSPs. We can offer inhouse second line technical support and a full range of marketing services both to our vendor partners and through our resellers and MSPs. Q4 will see us further enhancing our ability to drive enterprise level sales as well as assisting our partner resellers and MSPs to deliver complete solutions. We believe that to remain relevant that we needed to evolve our offer and to that end we continue to do so. We strive to drive profitable recurring revenue generating business that genuinely adds value to our partners businesses whether they be vendors, retailers or MSPs.
Talking to a member of Network Group recently I have huge admiration for what they are doing helping their partners to grow their businesses through marketing, sales support and their other value-added services. Synaxon is trying to deliver sales through their TrustATec concept which is admirable but a huge undertaking and their EGIS system looks to be a very useful tool. CompTIA deliver great training, certifications and excellent CPD events. There is value being added by all the Buying and Trade Groups. Community to me is the key and my advice would be to get involved and become part of the wider technology channel community and share with and learn from others.