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Arrow finally finds distribution traction in cloud

After a few false dawns since its original launch back in 2012, Arrow claims that its cloud platform ArrowSphere now provides it with a major differentiator and the basis to compete effectively in the cloud era. It also appears to be attracting new MSP and reseller customers and new vendor’s to and according to senior executives provides them with a uniquely strong foundation from which to support vendors and channels seize the opportunities presented by AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IoT.

According to Cédric Doignie, Vice President, ECS EMEA, Business Transformation & Services, all the additional functionalities provided by the ArrowSphere platform provide real value to both vendors and their channel partners. It also demonstrates the traditional distribution model can be equally valid in the age of the cloud. “If you look back there were lots of discussions around the disintermediation of the channel and the guys who go direct and at the end what we see is that the same model that was valued for the traditional distribution is also valid somehow in the cloud with obviously a different approach. But it is somehow the same model having one access point that gives you access to wide community of partners and that enables you to accelerate on the sales of your services in this case.”

Alexis Brabant (pictured), Vice President Sales, Arrow ECS EMEA believes that Arrow’s approach also provides an answer to addressing the new complexity of the cloud business by enabling automated provisioning and billing of both vendor and MSP/reseller services. It has also he claims proved very effective in attracting new channel customers to Arrow – particularly MSPs. “we've got thousands of MSPs connected to the platform and able to provision any of our vendor community’s products that are embedded in the platform. So, more vendors coming to ArrowSphere gives visibility already to thousands [of MSPs] ready to transact.”

These capabilities along with Arrow’s breadth of expertise, from sensors and components through to data capture and management, also underpin the companies claim to be uniquely well positioned to exploit the opportunities provided by IoT and AI. According to Cédric Doignie growing interest over the last 12 to 18 months is now turning into real projects although most are still at the proof of concept stage. He thinks that progress will be driven by the development of vertical market solutions. “We announced recently the solution for airports for example that we developed with IBM Watson. We will have more and more announcements like this of verticalised solutions that we do with specific ecosystem alliance partners.”

Dan Waters, Arrow’s Director of Solutions sees such verticalisation as being vital to overcome the huge investment in time and resources necessary to develop unique IoT solutions. “I think what we saw when we when we started down this path was everything was being built in a bespoke way which takes a long time to deliver. If you are working from scratch you've got no template to work from so projects do take a long time to deliver. By standardizing and verticalising the approach to some of these opportunities we're helping to shortcut the development. It's not like you can just put a SKU on it and then deliver it. Everything has still got an element of bespoke interaction but just providing a template to work from in these vertical markets is helping partners understand what they can deliver and short cut success.”