Typically, wholesale distributors of technology and IT components such as Ingram Micro or Arrow Electronics are at least one step removed from the customers they serve. They sell to VARs and other IT solution providers that provide the direct touch to the customer, although those distributors might actually be the ones getting the technology configured and deployed, given their massive logistics capabilities.
But an acquisition this week by one of biggest value-added distributors, Avnet, is another indication of how traditional technology delivery models are evolving and that the once black-and-white rules about who touches whom to help with enterprise IT solutions are fading into some shade of gray.
Avnet is buying Seamless Technologies, an IT services and data center automation company from New Jersey that has developed a robust practice in helping businesses migrate to private, public or hybrid cloud environments. The company will become part of the Avnet Services division.
On paper, this group (officially established in May 2013) will provide services that help Avnet resellers and VARs extend their services reach. The business unit is actually a mashup of a number of previous acquisitions of services companies including Ascendant Technology (a content management and e-commerce specialist), BrightStar Partners (a performance management consulting company), Canvas Systems (a refurbishing and remarketing company), Genilogix (application lifecyle management), Mattelli (asset management), Pepperweed Consulting (network and systems managment) and TSSLink (IT management).
You can see how many of these service lines point back to supporting cloud migration projects.
Here's what one of Avnet's customers, Vince DeLuca, the CEO of Logicalis, had to say about Avnet Services, which now employs more than 2,000 delivery specialists:
"We continue to see opportunities for significant growth in managed and cloud-based services as businesses plan for successful transitions to next-generation infrastructure and services. IT services are increasingly being consumed in new and different ways, so helping our customers to quickly and easily overcome business hurdles in this areas is critical, and partnering with Avnet Services provides the additional services capabilities we need to meet and exceed our customers' expectations."
The Seamless Technologies acquisition is expected to close sometime before the end of July. Last year, the company recorded about $14 million in revenue.