AVNET – Helping UC Vendors Transform the UC Delivery Market
Have you looked at who actually shipped you the hardware that came with your UC system? It may not be the vendor, but a delivery partner that is becoming part of the overall supply/delivery/support chain.
As the UC vendors focus on their key value proposition in software, both as a differentiator and as their primary value proposition, they are moving more of the supply chain to partners. The challenge is that the servers and other physical components shipped as part of a UC solution are neither a differentiator nor a buying decision driver. In fact, with many end customers preferring a specific server brand, the challenges for a UC company to deliver those servers is growing. The complexity of dealing with multiple hardware vendors and stocking appropriate servers and components is a major activity and generates minimal margin and value for the UC vendor.
To solve this challenge, Avnet’s new model for value delivery in the UC space enables UC vendors to eliminate significant costs in providing a complete UC solution. By partnering with Avnet, UC vendors are able to focus on the core value aspects of their solutions, while leveraging the resources of a $27B Fortune 500 company for the hardware components and overall customer delivery. Conceptually, this is not dramatically different than the thousands of merchants using Amazon to deliver their products, just a bit more complex.
By partnering with Avnet to manage all aspects of delivery including standard servers and associated software, Avnet becomes a virtual extension of the vendor, delivering on an order with increased speed and reduced costs. As many of these components have been delivered by the UC vendors with little or no margin, moving delivery to a partner can improve both profitability and cash flow for the UC vendor, while optimizing the end user options and purchasing experience.
As a delivery chain partner, Avnet will enable UC vendors to focus on their core value and optimize their overall delivery of solutions in this new environment. Avnet will source servers and other components for the vendor based on the vendor requirements, potentially increasing the orderable options significantly. More than just providing parts, Avnet provides global, end-to-end assembly, software installation, test, distribution, delivery, and warranty services through its worldwide network of facilities and partners. Once assembled, tested, and verified, Avnet ships products directly to the UC vendor’s customers as an extension of the vendor fulfillment process. This enables the vendor to decrease costs, decrease time to delivery, increase choice and increase the quality of the configured solution.
This seems to be the logical next evolution of the UC industry. For vendors, the challenge of keeping current on one line of servers or appliances is a challenge, and even more so in today’s market where users often demand choices in order to align with internal standards. Working with a delivery chain partner enables vendors to focus on their software, IT integration and new capabilities, rather than a supply chain with little added value. It gives customers increased choice and value. In talking with the other experts at UCStrategies, it is clear that the concept of moving more of the supply chain to a partner that can use scale to better manage both customer satisfaction and price may be a new trend in the industry.
If this model works well, it will signal another change in the industry. As manufacturing was considered to be a strategic strength of telecom companies in the early 1990s (AT&T/Lucent, Nortel, Siemens, etc.) and moved to outsourced aggregators, the movement of the delivery process to partners changes the game. For end users, it means that how your vendor is working with their partners is as important as the traditional supply chain. If done well it can reduce delivery times and prices. The key for both delivery outsourcers like Avnet and their UC vendor clients is integration, operation, and communications.
This paper is sponsored by Avnet.