The Power of IoT Partnerships with SIs and Aggregators
Technology partnerships with systems integrators (SIs) and aggregators have always been important—but now they are becoming essential. As digital transformations continue to accelerate across industries, businesses are finding it’s becoming harder to successfully implement IoT technology alone. These partnerships allow them to leverage expertise and resources quickly and effectively to meet their custom or specific needs. For instance, systems integrators and aggregators can provide the necessary technical support—such as software development and maintenance—and ensure that the system is configured and optimized to deliver the desired results.
In this episode, we talk about the latest trends and innovations in IoT and how systems integrators and aggregators work together to leverage these technologies and deliver more value to businesses. We will also discuss the different types of partnerships and the unique value that each can bring to the table.
Our Guest: Intel
Our guests this episode are:
- Lisa McGarvey, Vice President, Solutions, Verticals, and Alliances at TD SYNNEX. At TD SYNNEX, a global distributor and solution aggregator company, Lisa leads a team focused on solution aggregation efforts, key alliances, and vertical market enablement.
- Matt Tyler, Vice President, Strategic Innovation and Business Development at Wachter, a technology integration and services company. Matt has been with Wachter for the past 17 years, and much of his role is focused on OT, but sometimes crosses into the IT side of the world.
- Ben Kotvis, Senior Architect at Insight, a technology solutions provider. Ben is an experienced software architect with a background in business. He works on the enterprise team at Insight.
- Tobias Enders, CEO at GPA, a global collaboration strategy consultant. At GPA, Tobias and his team are focused on collaboration technologies, AV, and meeting-room technologies.
Lisa, Matt, Ben, and Tobias answer our questions about:
- (2:24) The evolving role of SIs and aggregators in the IoT world
- (4:19) Challenges SIs and aggregators face in the IoT space
- (7:32) The importance of SIs and aggregators when scaling across markets and regions
- (9:11) Key IoT trends and opportunities for SIs and aggregators
- (14:50) Examples of how SIs and aggregators provide IoT support
- (28:15) What they look for when choosing an SI or aggregator
- (34:32) The future of the IoT space and the roles for SIs and aggregators
To learn more about system integrators and the IoT space, read The Power of IoT Partnership: Work Better, Together and listen to Into the IoT Partner Multiverse with Tech Data EMEA and Seven Dirty Secrets of IoT. For the latest innovations from TD SYNNEX, Wachter, Inc., Insight, and GPA, follow them on Twitter at @TDSYNNEX, @WachterInc, @InsightEnt, and @GPA_AV and on LinkedIn at TD SYNNEX, Wachter, Inc., Insight, and GPA.
Christina Cardoza: Hello, and welcome to the IoT Chat, where we explore the latest developments in the Internet of Things. I’m your host, Christina Cardoza, Editorial Director of insight.tech, and today we’re talking about the power of systems integrators and aggregators with a panel of expert guests from GPA, Insight, TD SYNNEX, and Wachter. But before we get into the conversation, let’s get to know our guests a bit more. Lisa, I’ll start with you, from TD SYNNEX. Please tell us more about yourself and the company.
Lisa McGarvey: Sure, thank you. I’m Lisa McGarvey. I work for TD SYNNEX. We’re a global distributor and solution aggregator with a vast ecosystem that enables us to deliver end-to-end solutions from edge to data center to the cloud. I lead our team that focuses on solution aggregation efforts, key alliances, and vertical market enablement. And our mission is to really help our partners to monetize the entire data opportunity from data creation to data analytics.
Christina Cardoza: Great. Can’t wait to get a little bit more into that. But first, Matt Tyler from Wachter. Welcome to the show. Please tell us more about yourself.
Matt Tyler: Thanks for having me. So, Wachter is a nationwide solution integrator, primarily focusing on the OT, but also crossing into the IT side of the world. We are 93 years old, and we operate out of all 50 states with about 1,500 of our own W-2 workforce.
Christina Cardoza: Great. And next we’ll move to Tobias Enders from GPA.
Tobias Enders: Hello. Hi, my name is Tobias Enders. I’m based in Germany. I run the GPA team in Germany as the CEO. GPA is a global systems integrator focused on collaboration technologies, AV, and meeting room technologies. And we have recently been recognized as the largest systems integrator in the world by SCN 50.
Christina Cardoza: And last but not least, Ben Kotvis from Insight. Please tell us more about yourself.
Ben Kotvis: Yes. Hi, I’m a Senior Architect in our Enterprise Strategy Team. And so, Insight is a company that’s a solution integrator. We sell a lot of hardware and we also sell a lot of software services through a number of acquisitions. We are a global company. We’re looking forward to the conversation today.
Christina Cardoza: As am I. So, obviously lots of expertise across the board for this conversation today. I want to start off talking about the role of systems integrators and aggregators when it comes to IoT, and how their role has had to evolve as this space has had to evolve. So, Lisa, I’ll throw that first one to you.
Lisa McGarvey: Sure. Thanks, Christina. So, if you look at the move from traditional distribution and product sales to what we’re seeing today from a company like TD SYNNEX, we’re actually aggregating and orchestrating solutions, and we believe that model becomes exponentially more valuable to our partners and our ecosystem. And we’re really positioning ourselves at the center of that IT ecosystem, because traditional distribution was really limited in the value-creation aspect of that.
But with digital transformation and the need for digitization, it’s really allowing solution aggregators like ourselves to differentiate and unlock the potential of that ecosystem that we’re seeing. Our focus is around high-growth technologies and growing partnerships with the ecosystem like MSPs, OEMs, ISVs, and SIs. And that’s a key investment area for us. And we’ve been continually growing our capabilities to really meet the emerging technology and transformation needs of the markets that we’re seeing to enable and support our customers. We know that building and delivering complete solutions is lengthy and complex; our job as an aggregator is to really simplify that complexity.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, that’s great. And you mentioned this traditional distribution model, and it’s now changing, of course, in today’s modern world. So, I’m wondering what are some of the challenges that come along with those changes, and, like you mentioned, how systems integrators and aggregators can make that simple. Because I feel as you add more technology and intelligent features, things get great, but it also gets a little bit more complex on how you can do things. So, Matt, can you talk about some of the challenges we’re facing today in the IoT space, and how SIs and aggregators are there to help?
Matt Tyler: You’re 100% right in the fact that these technology solutions aren’t becoming any less complex. As the vertical silos of technology over the years have been implemented, our customers are looking to have those integrated together, share the data, make it more valuable and actionable. So the challenge is—coming from the OT side of the world—is we now need access to data centers, data sets that we never would’ve had access to prior. We need to provide the connectivity, the sensor traffic, tie disparate systems together and not—I don’t believe any one organization can do it all together as one.
It really does rely on partnerships and relying on aggregators like TD SYNNEX and Insight and others to come together to deliver the outcomes that our customers are looking for. So we now heavily rely on our aggregation partners to help initiate conversation with what may be perceived as our competition to work together to become an overall solutions provider for our customers.
Christina Cardoza: That’s great. I love how you mentioned that not one organization or company can do this alone. I think this idea of “better together” is a theme that we have seen across all industries, so I want to dig deeper into that a little bit later in our conversation. But before we get to that, Tobias, you mentioned in your intro—you guys are working with systems integrators—a lot of people around the industry. So I’m wondering how you’re seeing systems integrators and aggregators being able to simplify some of the complexities that we’re talking about, and help successful IoT deployments.
Tobias Enders: Yeah. So, we’re using IoT devices and sensors a lot in the context of smart workspace and smart building. And what we see is that the market is still very fragmented. And we have different partners in that play, different people trying to get their business case around the IoT sensors with cloud subscriptions, different portals, and so on and so forth. So this adds a lot of complexity to rollouts. And we design for scale and for speed for our customers. That’s what they really want on a global scale, and therefore we need strong partners helping us to solve these issues and building this ecosystem. So that’s really key for the success of global rollouts. And of course you have logistics and global pricing and other implications that you need to handle if you think about how to deploy on a global scale.
Christina Cardoza: Great. And speaking about scale, I work with a lot of Intel® Partner Alliance members, especially in the IoT space, and one thing that I’ve noticed is that they have these IoT solutions hitting a certain vertical or market, and I’m seeing them want to transform those applications or solutions and go into different industries or leverage the expertise they have and provide more solutions, not only just in different global areas but in different industries. So, Ben, I’m wondering if you can talk about the importance of working with these systems integrators and aggregators when it comes to being able to scale their solutions, make them bigger, reach more audience, but also reach different regions and markets.
Ben Kotvis: Yeah, so I think relationships still matter. So, having the ability to use partners that we have all over the world for different pieces of a solution is really important. And I’m often impressed when we come to the table with a solution where there may be some cabling needed, or there’s particular needs around software development or network expertise. And we have partners in different regions of the world that we can tap to help provide those services and to source that hardware quickly, because we’ve got that reach all over the world.
So it’s something that we put a lot of work into—creating those relationships and maintaining those relationships with those partners. And it takes—it pays off in the long run, when we can quickly provide solutions and transact with our clients quickly to provide that value very—in the timelines that are meaningful to them. So it’s—when it comes down to it, we’ve got relationships with people just like everybody else, but it’s broad, and there’s just a lot of folks all over the world that are working on that.
Christina Cardoza: So I think it’s obvious: the importance of systems integrators and aggregators to IoT development and deployment. We’ve been talking a little bit about how they come in and they help simplify things and really work as a partnership with organizations and companies. But I’m wondering if we could dig a little bit deeper, Lisa—if you have any examples, or you can mention any efforts or achievements you’ve seen working with your systems aggregators, how they’ve helped and transformed the IoT space today.
Lisa McGarvey: Yeah. So, I mean, we’ve talked about, and we were just—all of us mentioned this—there’s a huge need for specialization and differentiation, right? And the value stack that we’ve created supports those needs. Whether it’s a horizontal capability or vertical expertise, we’ve made investments in those types of skills and capabilities to really help reduce the complexity and monetize the opportunity, right?
We have our award-winning practice builder, and that’s really how we help our partners build new or accelerate existing practices in high-growth technologies and verticals. So we have consultants and coaches to support this with our partners. Also, vertical expertise has been part of our DNA, right? We’ve built enablement and programs to assist our partners to have more strategic and relevant conversations with line of business, right? We know that that’s where more and more the buying decisions are being made. So we want to enable our partners to be able to have those conversations and understand how technology supports business priorities and business opportunities.
And if you look at IoT solutions, that often crosses domains of expertise, as well as product portfolios. So we really try to provide that support across the board to help our SIs and our resellers scale, and let them provide their industry domain and what they do really well, but help them in adding resources where we’ve made investments, and let them address the needs of the customers. So we’re really expanding into new markets—helping our partners to be able to do that in aggregating and bringing resources to them to enable them to accelerate what they’re doing and what they do well.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, of course, and I love that. We’ve been talking about how it’s so important for systems integrators and aggregators, for organizations and companies, to scale themselves. But, of course, on the other side of it, aggregators and integrators, they want to scale themselves too. They want to be able to help more and to expand their partnerships. So, Matt, I’m wondering how they can build off of some of the efforts that Lisa just mentioned and scale on their end also.
Matt Tyler: Sure. Lines of communication are key to selling any type of solution. And the way you attack different markets is unique in the fact—where we may have some retail customers that have a top-down approach, we may go sell to the C-suite in a retail setting, and they push whatever directive from a digital transformation down to the retail stores themselves. Whereas if we were in manufacturing or heavy industrial, the plants and the manufacturing environments have more autonomy, and we’re selling more at that plant level. We feel very comfortable at that plant level.
And sometimes we need some help from our partners, such as TD SYNNEX or Insight, to come from the top down, depending on which market. So we feel that having these open lines of communication, having the trust built allows us to sell our solutions really in any single market without having to have that—the knowledge base or the relationship base at both ends of the spectrum.
Christina Cardoza: Great. And in the beginning I think I alluded to organizations wanting to add more intelligent capabilities and technologies as part of their IoT development and deployment. So, Tobias, I’m wondering if we can talk a little bit about AI, cloud, the edge—some of these important key trends that are happening in the IoT space. How does it fit into the relationship with systems integrators and aggregators, and how can companies and organizations leverage these new emerging trends and technologies and work with the partnerships to help them be successful?
Tobias Enders: Yeah, of course. Big buzzwords, I think, at the first place. AI, edge, cloud—all this stuff is really something that is—it’s been used as a door opener in the first place. I think what is really critical around these trends is to emphasize that we need to think about the end user first when it comes to technology deployments. Of course trends like AI or, of course, the cloud is something that we use to simplify and to add speed and scale into deployments. But ultimately our key focus should be always the end user and what they want to achieve by using these technologies.
And, from my perspective, they have the power to be really transformational when it comes to technology usage and adoption. Especially AI might be a game changer. And we are all seeing these, yeah, quite recent postings around AI and how it can be used. So it’s quite fascinating to see, and we think it’s just the beginning of a huge trend that will be used around large organizations—how to improve their processes and, of course, the end-user experience in their buildings and in their working environments. That’s definitely a key trend from our perspective.
Christina Cardoza: Great. So, we’ve been talking about some of the expertise and skills that the systems integrators and aggregators bring to IoT journeys, but I’m wondering if we can get some use cases or customer studies that we can provide the audience with to give them some real-world examples of how systems integrators and aggregators are actually coming in and making a difference and helping these organizations. So, Ben, I’ll start with you.
Ben Kotvis: Sure. So, I think that we’ve gotten a lot of opportunities to work with our partners to build solutions, and that is as simple as sometimes in agriculture I’ve literally worked with some of our partners and dug holes in the ground to put sensors, and it calls back to some of the first jobs I’ve ever had. It’s a lot of fun. Not necessarily the best use of our time and money, but it’s a good way to understand the problem space.
But we have some clients, speaking of AI, where in one case a company that makes outboard motors had some defects in their die casts, and they were using AI models to detect those die casts. And so one of the powerful things we were able to do in that solution was operationalize that AI at the edge, where we could take a thermal image of the die cast and look for those defects, and we could actually notify the operator in that manufacturing plant if there was a problem with a visual alarm.
And so it tied in heavily into the operational systems that they were already using. And the outcome is that instead of adding a whole lot of additional components to this outboard engine—just to scrap it later because it was going to fail once they put gasoline in it and started using it—we were able to prevent all of that extra work because we were able to determine that early in the manufacturing process.
We’re also doing a ton of work in retail right now with computer vision and looking for patterns, looking for people going into areas that they shouldn’t, looking for behavior that people shouldn’t be doing, and be able to determine that quickly. And of course these solutions with our partners where they may have AI models that we can operationalize quickly to solve those problems, in addition to some of the other folks that I talked about earlier with cabling and the hardware that goes along with those solutions—the cameras and the partners that are even on this call that can help contribute to these solutions.
This is all how it comes together in a real-life scenario. And we’re seeing scenarios where we do deploy those AI models to retail scenarios. And the challenge we have is undersizing the computing, because they do—maybe they think they’re going to use two particular computer vision models, but they end up thinking, “Oh man, I could maybe have another five here, and they could help us with all sorts of additional problems.” So that introduces new problems, but it’s good for our business. And so this is where these particular solutions come to life. So those are a couple of good examples.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, and I love that first example you talked about. Sometimes you have to fail or experiment to learn and to continuously improve, and then you can go on. You learn from that, and, like you said, you can start preventing things before they even happen. Matt, I’m wondering from Wachter, how you guys have been working with customers, or any examples that you can show in this space.
Matt Tyler: Sure. I have a couple extreme cases, one from the low-tech side, to the high-tech side. One is we were working with Ben and his company on a joint customer up in the Northwest that operates critical infrastructure. They were in need to come to compliance with some regulatory issues. So we were brought in to look at the OT side of the space—basically the instrumentation and the controls and automation of their compressors and their pumping stations.
Well, some of these systems still operate Windows XP—that if they get updated, or if the service that they connect to gets updated, tend to go offline and cause customers to go without service of their natural gas delivery. So we were able to come in and help write a policy and procedure on upgrade policies to ensure that the operator remains in compliance while they can still do their data center– and their IT system–upgrade globally.
The other is, we’re working with a robotics company, and fully automatizing in logistics and distribution. So, this company is a package solution that comes in to, say, a million- to two-million-square-foot distribution center. They’re able to de-palletize, pick, pack, and ship, re-palletize all of the inventory, which is tremendous. They use a lot of AI in that. Well, what they weren’t looking at was the maintenance and health of their own robotics within their own system.
So we worked very closely with them on implementing vision systems, along with audio-analytical systems, within their robotic cells to really keep an eye on what’s going on, and call their robots out of service if there was a potential for failure during the operation of those robotics. So we’ve partnered up with some very large integrators, some manufacturers and end users to really look at the full spectrum. And those partnerships were all brought to us from the Intels and the TD SYNNEX of the world. So it’s been a tremendous success story for us.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, I love those examples. Sometimes you’re working in industries or with organizations where failure or shutdown is not an option, and you need to make sure you have guardrails or reliability in place so that you can continue your operations. So I love hearing that. Lisa, you mentioned some efforts that TD SYNNEX was making earlier in the conversation. I’m wondering how those relate back to your customers or your end users, and how you’re helping them solve their problems today.
Lisa McGarvey: Yeah. Both Ben and Matt gave some great examples of what we’re seeing. We’re actually working with Wachter and Matt on an opportunity right now to monitor generators, where an opportunity came to us and we brought in—we needed an SI, right? And we needed someone to help connect and monitor those multiple models and brands of generators, as well as provide installation and implementation services. So, as an aggregator, that’s where we identify and bring together that multivendor solution, but also identify who can provide the solutions and who can be a part of that.
We also—a great example of our solutions consultants working with our partners—they get asked to address some challenges, right? And one of our partners just brought us something around process improvement to meet some of the new challenges of the 21st century; prepare for impending changes; and what does that look like to the current operational structure; and what impacts may that have on infrastructure, services, and installation operations? So, a lot of these multi, big projects where we do—we need a lot of different partners to be able to look at services and deliver the solutions.
Perimeter security is a big part of this opportunity that we’re working on, and they want something to be able to respond more rapidly and efficiently, something that will integrate with their existing and future technology investments, while fulfilling the requirements that they have today to support full coverage of all the entry points, to have weather survivability, right? And TD SYNNEX is really there to identify what solution that is, what vendors to bring in, and then who—how can we help the customer quarterback the coordination of all the integration of the solution for the client.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, that’s great. It’s taking a lot of the guess work out so that the client can focus on what really matters or what the priority tasks are for them. And I love seeing the partnerships, even within this own panel with these companies here, and I want to get into that a little bit more. But before we do, Tobias, I would love to hear how GPA is working with customers, if you have any use cases or customer examples you can share.
Tobias Enders: Yeah. What we see is a big trend towards hybrid working. Of course that’s a game changer. And we all know that hybrid work and home office is here to stay, so it’s not a short-term trend. But what we also realize with lots of our customers, especially when they operate large real estate—corporate real estate managers—that they end up with lots of unused capacity of space in their office buildings. And that’s a big—on one side that’s a big pain point, but on the other side it’s a huge opportunity for them to rightsize their buildings and to gain the benefits out of the cost savings, or to add more people to one space to use this capacity better.
So of course desk sharing is something that nearly every organization is currently implementing around the globe. But with that IoT comes into play, because we need to really understand the utilization of the working space when it comes to meeting rooms, but also when it comes to working desks and other areas. So we helped a large manufacturing company to equip all their desks with little IoT sensors. And what they essentially do is to measure the occupancy—if someone is there or if it’s free, busy, information. So this helps dramatically to get a better understanding on how the space is really used.
And of course it comes together with a smart building platform with an app where you can book your desk to get a better understanding. And that dashboard is for the corporate real estate managers to really see the utilization. And it sounds like a very simple use case, and of course it is. However, it’s a huge, huge business case and return on investment for the customer if you find out that you can save 40% or 50% of your real estate cost just with a couple of sensors on the desk.
And this is typically the results that we see with our customers across industries. So that’s something that is heavily used. And of course and the next question is how to enable better meetings, and how to enable hybrid meetings, and then it comes to video conferencing and all the natural stuff that we do to really equip them for the future of work and for smart workspace. So these are the examples that we do.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, even within this own call, a lot of us are working from home, and then you have those offices or buildings sitting there just using power. And I think, buildings—they contribute to even so much carbon emissions in the world. So some of the solutions you’re talking about are even important from a sustainability aspect. How can we make sure that these are running efficiently and affordably and looking at the whole picture? So I love that.
Lisa, I want to go back to what you were talking about with the partnerships with Wachter and Insight and TD SYNNEX. We’ve heard a lot about the importance of working with others, so I’m wondering if you can just expand a little bit more on that, or if there’s any other partnerships you want to call out.
Lisa McGarvey: I mean, I definitely want to call out Intel. Partnerships have been key, especially with them, as they’ve made significant investments in their solution aggregator program, their Market Ready Solutions, their ecosystem partners that they bring to us, as well as even their industry expertise that we’ve leveraged, and we have great partnership with them.
And they’ve really helped us, as TD SYNNEX had to quickly adapt and respond to all the accelerated business-transformation needs brought about by the pandemic. The Intel Solution Aggregator relationship enabled us to respond quickly to that changing business climate. And we were able to support customers in new ways. I mean, leveraging Market Ready Solutions to offer complete use cases and solutions for hybrid workforce, like you just talked about—able to scale to those new work environment needs.
At schools they had to adapt to new methods of learning, leverage RES solutions. We were able to easily identify and offer remote-education solutions. And even an ongoing, more prevalent necessity, healthcare—servicing the underserved population, especially during times around the pandemic. We were able to support partners with Intel’s ecosystem, offering prepackaged bundles to serve these types of customers. So, we don’t sell to end users, so we’re always partnering with SIs and resellers. And so all the co-panelists on this call here, we’re continually trying to find new opportunities to partner with them, because we all bring unique skill sets to enable our customers.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, exactly. Talking about the unique skill sets, I think it’s not only important to make sure you’re working with others in this industry and partnering, but making sure that you find the right partner for the solution that you are trying to build, or what you’re trying to get out there. So, Ben, I’m wondering, from Insight, you work with TD SYNNEX, you work with Wachter—what are some of the criteria that you guys look for when choosing a partnership?
Ben Kotvis: Yeah. So, obviously areas where we’re weak, or we don’t have particular specialties where it’s obvious that our clients need that—that’s pretty low-hanging fruit. So, in the example of Wachter, one of the reasons that we saw that as a valuable partnership is there’s just a lot of complexity around some of the operational-computing technology, and bridging that gap for us from an STK perspective and just an opinion perspective was really valuable to us, because certainly we have done integration at the lower levels with those, but it’s not an area that we want to spend a lot of time on. We don’t want to have to think about all the complexities around that. And so that was a great partnership for us that plugged into an area that we didn’t really have the expertise in.
Also, we’ve got hundreds—or thousands, I should say—of people that are software engineers. We do Java, C#, Python, a lot of those types of things. But in some cases in IoT people are looking for sensors where they need something that’s embedded, or they need something written in C. So finding partners that can actually write those devices, build the software on those devices, and connect to our cloud platforms or our centralized ingestion platforms—and so those areas where we want to fill those gaps.
And then the services that maybe physically or from a particular locale, we don’t have coverage—that’s another great place to build partnerships. So I think those areas in general where we’re weak, the partners make us strong. It sounds a little bit cheesy, but it’s true.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, absolutely. And I think one thing that I’ve noticed is sometimes these partnerships are companies that you would think are competitors, or that are competitors of yourself or organizations that you are working with. So, Matt, I’m wondering if you can talk a little bit more about that. What’s the value of your partnerships? Or what would be the value of even partnering with somebody that you know is “quote unquote” a competitor?
Matt Tyler: Yeah, it’s amazing that about 40% of our business is done with partners, either sell-to or sell-through. So, trust and competency are probably the two words that I’d use to describe the relationships that we have. Through our partnership with Intel, through our partnership with TD SYNNEX—I’ve built a relationship with the folks at Insight, and we’ve built a level of trust just over the last several years to where we can fully engage with end-user customers without fear of anyone’s ego, or anyone trying to take the business from one another.
A lot of times—especially in IoT, when there’s multiple partners involved in a solution, and it is that traditional prime submodel, margin stacking becomes cost prohibitive to the customer. We get stuck in IoT purgatory or proof-of-concept purgatory because of margin stacking. It looks great, works great in the proof of concept, but once it goes to scale it just doesn’t because of the cost.
Building levels of trust and having the understanding of roles and responsibilities allows us to even mitigate that by having direct avenues to the customer, knowing that we’re all working for that same end goal. So, like I said, trust and then having the competency to be able to fulfill the gaps, like Ben was speaking of, is what we look at, especially when we’re dealing with what would be perceived as our competitor.
Christina Cardoza: That’s great. And we have this great partnership going on between TD SYNNEX, Insight, and Wachter. So, not to leave GPA out, Tobias, I’m wondering if you can talk about some of the partnerships that your company has, and what the value has been in meeting your goals.
Tobias Enders: Yeah. Partnership is really a core center of GPA. If you think about the concept of GPA, we are a partnership and a shareholding partnership in our way and how we deal with each other in all the different business units that we have in each country. So you can see that partnerships are critical from a GPA standpoint. And we created our own partnership program as an integral part of GPA, where we have support and very close relationships with the largest organizations that are relevant in our space. And of course, it would not work without these partners. It’s just impossible.
And there are also folks like TD SYNNEX, but also the manufacturing partners are directly involved in our partnership program, and even indirect partners like Intel. It’s about connecting the dots. That’s one side of the story, I would say. And I think, as Matt said, it’s about the relationship and the trust side, because, ultimately, it’s not about having a big brand on a logo wall and say, “That’s our partners.” At the end of the day it’s about building the trust, building the relationship, businesses between people, and that’s what it’s all about.
It’s true for our GPA transactions that we do as a cross-border business every day, but it’s also true working with our global partners supporting us in supply chain and pricing and execution of projects. So therefore the partnership premise is really important from our perspective. And it might not be the biggest brands, especially when it comes to the smart workspace and IoT space. We found a couple of smaller partners when it comes to software integration, and we built quite strong relationship with them working side by side, going into pitches together, and being highly successful. And I think that’s what it’s all about, and that’s what a partnership makes relevant, from my perspective.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, absolutely. And I love that don’t leave out the little guy. It’s not always about the name and the flash. It’s really about the skill sets and the expertise that each partnership brings to the table. And I can’t wait to see how else these partnerships continue to grow and scale as this space continues to evolve.
Unfortunately we are running out of time right now. But before we go, I just want to throw it back to each one of you. Just talk about what comes next; what are the opportunities we can look forward to in the future; or what do you hope that our listeners get out of today’s conversation? So, Ben, I’ll start with you on this one.
Ben Kotvis: Yeah. I think understanding that things are coming to life that we have been investing a lot of time and energy into as we saw the roadmap for technology. And so, as I mentioned retail before, it’s something we’ve invested a ton in the computer vision, intelligent edge, and we’re really seeing it come to life in retail right now to an extent that is very exciting to us. And so that’s something that we plan to build on and widen and bring into other industries as well.
Christina Cardoza: Great. And Lisa, what can we expect from TD SYNNEX next? Or what do you hope our listeners take away from today’s conversation?
Lisa McGarvey: Yeah. So, we have a four-pillar investment strategy to really support aggregation and orchestration. One, it’s invest in high-growth technology areas. Strengthen our end-to-end portfolio, customer solutions, vendors, our ecosystem. Thirdly, transform digitally through advanced analytics and digital platforms. And then expand our global footprint, right?
Specifically from my team you’ll see a focus on ISVs and AI, as we’re seeing more and more relevant computer vision, video-surveillance use cases in every industry, right? And I just want to hit on a goal: the goal is to really help our partners deliver the right solutions, knowing—again —that no one can do it alone. And partnership is so key to delivering true value to our customers.
Christina Cardoza: Great. Tobias, any final thoughts or key takeaways you want to leave us with today?
Tobias Enders: Yeah. So we, GPA, identified the IT space as a very relevant part for our future business. And I think there’s one key message that we found relevant. We want to reduce complexity, and IoT is still very complex, and it’s fragmented in a way. And this is where we see the opportunity. If we just sell commodity goods it’s just a reselling model. But in the IoT space we feel that we can add lots of value with the expertise from a consulting standpoint, but also from a systems integration standpoint. Therefore it’s really a key activity for our future plans for the next couple of years to invest further into IoT.
Christina Cardoza: Great. And Matt, please help us lead out of the conversation. What comes next, or what should our listeners be paying attention to?
Matt Tyler: Well, obviously if you’re paying attention to anything in the news, the explosive adoption of AI, including ChatGPT is absolutely incredible. We’re going to see that shift into the commercial-market space—fully autonomous retail stores, fully autonomous factories and logistic centers. It’s going to really take a big shift, but we see this as being the next big step where we’re being engaged more and more to be able to ultimately provide customers and consumers a better shopping experience and retailers a better receiving experience from online. So we foresee AI and automation being the next big swing.
Christina Cardoza: Yeah, absolutely. Well, with that, I just want to thank each of you all for the insightful conversation, and thanks to our listeners for tuning in today. I invite you all to please visit all of these websites—TD SYNNEX, Wachter, Insight, GPA—to see how they can help you in your IoT efforts, or what else they are doing in this space. Until next time, this has been the IoT Chat.
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This transcript was edited by Erin Noble, copy editor.