To me, the name Monaco is inextricably linked to business and the ICT sector. All thanks to Distree EMEA. Distree EMEA is an annual conference going back 15 years now which brings together leading manufacturers, distributors and retailers of IT equipment. Let me add that the conference has been a very propitious event for ABC Data, which has scooped up as many as six EMEA Channel Academy Awards for Best Distributor of the Year in the CEE region. Since the distinction has been awarded in only each of the last nine years, the number of awards picked up by ABC Data is its own best advertisement: the Company is an indisputable leader in the IT distribution sector on a scale much larger than Poland itself. What is more, we are also within a chance of getting this distinction this year. Could this be our lucky seven? Time will tell. One thing is certain: whether you’re tipped to receive the award or not – it is always nice if you do, but it is not the most important thing after all – if you represent an IT company, you simply have to come to Distree!
In preparing for this year’s conference I have analysed the most important trends which are either already shaping or will shape the future of the IT distribution sector. Distree EMEA is a prestigious forum of distributors, manufacturers and retailers, by no means limited to Europe. Is there a better place to talk about them? Probably not. Thus, I have no doubt that it is the sector’s future that will be on everybody’s lips off-stage.
What factors and developments will thus play a key role? I can see at least a few. Cost cutting by manufacturers, fast implementation of new technologies and gradual fall in prices mean that the next few years will be replete with mergers and acquisitions. M&A are becoming the most effective tool whereby companies can use economies of scale and boost profit margins.
Just as the biggest and well-established companies are expected to see a lot of consolidation, so the smaller ones will experience a reverse trend. The growing number of local brands and producers seems to be the inevitable result of the lowering of the so-called threshold to entry. Incidentally, it has likely never been lower than today. Only about a decade ago, starting a serious business in the ICT sector required millions of dollars; today – only a few dozen thousand. We are thus into an era of great opportunities for small, innovative companies, which have traditionally been welcome partners for the biggest distributors. Another trend is the steady growth of the importance of services. Resellers are taking more and more interest in the VAR segment, while leading distributors have developed a habit of investing in competences and value added. ABC Data is not an exception here, more of a trendsetter. We ourselves have been building our competences in the VAD area for a few years now. Our efforts in this area led to the acquisition of S4E, a leading, highly-specialised Polish distributor with value added. For a while now, our priorities have centred on cloud-computing as well. We are in the process of finalising works in connection with the launch of a proprietary cloud services distribution platform. Our plans to cooperate with further partners in the cloud-computing area are well advanced.
Finally, we should not lose sight of the fact that the world is going virtual in every respect. The logical consequence of that is that innovations, as a factor that stimulates business, matter a great deal today. That is also why R&D has come to play a bigger role than ever. I have no doubt that any hunt for triggers of demand for products, network infrastructure and services should start precisely in this area.
Distree EMEA started yesterday. I have already completed the first round of meetings and business talks. There are more ahead, as well as the high point of the event – a gala ceremony during which we will find out who the best regional distributors are. Although my schedule for the next few days is full to bursting, I believe I can spare a moment for a relaxing walk around sunny Monaco. After all, it is a place which, at every step of the way, celebrates the unparalleled ideal of beauty, grace and elegance … of Prince Grace.
The Distree EMEA website:
My bets on Channelemea.com:
A gallery of fabulous pictures of Prince Grace: