Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tech Data Gets Serious about Open Source

Very interesting announcement from Tech Data this week about their Open Tech initiative to bring more OSS solutions to their resellers.

Several things of interest. First just that they are doing this - I think it speaks well of Tech Data's leadership and also of the growing realization that Open Source solutions often deliver greater value to business users than proprietary incumbent solutions.

Second, what they will be doing - here's the list from the press release:

Through Open Tech, Tech Data will:

  • Recruit New Open Source Vendors – Tech Data is negotiating with several open source ISVs interested in expanding their reseller partner base. Tech Data will recruit open source ISVs developing a wide range of solutions, including business intelligence and database management, data backup and recovery, content management, messaging and unified communications, office productivity, middleware and security.
  • Recruit And Enable New Open Source Resellers – Tech Data will enable existing open source resellers to expand their practices with new solutions and open source technical training available through TDEducation. The company also will leverage its data mining and channel marketing to identify and recruit new resellers likely to add open source alternatives to their solutions offerings.
  • Establish The Open Tech Community – With a membership of resellers, open source ISVs, and leading hardware manufacturers, the Open Tech Community will work together to develop strategies to capitalize on emerging demand for open source solutions. The community will interact through physical and virtual events, and the new Open Tech Web portal.
  • Expand Open Source Licensing Expertise – Tech Data’s software licensing specialists will support the licensing requirements for all Open Tech software partners.
  • Enhance Open Source Sales And Marketing – Open Tech will provide open source vendors with a comprehensive channel marketing program to recruit and enable targeted resellers. Open Tech also will provide extensive open source product training for Tech Data’s Sales teams.
  • Develop Custom-Configured Open Source Bundles – Through its East and West Coast integration centers and on behalf of its reseller customers, Tech Data will custom configure systems and servers with open source solutions for quicker deployment to end users.
Lots of goodness here, but I think they saved the best for last - Develop Custom-Configured Open Source Bundles. This demonstrates real Open Source savvy on Tech Data's part. This is where so many resellers get tripped up on Open Source - because open source is so disaggregated and imminently configurable, for many resellers, trying to figure out what Open Source bits to sell, and in what combination(s), is akin to ordering at McDonald's without value meal options. Tech Data is stepping up with their Custom Configured Bundles to give resellers the critical assurance they need (something I suggested distributors should do in my 2006 LinuxWorld Magazine article titled Open Source: Changing the Enterprise Software Supply Chain for Good - scroll to bottom of first page for the section on Distributors)

Some questions - will they include any pure community (that is non-commercial) OSS projects in the program? I'm thinking Apache, Debian, lesser extent OpenNMS, since they have a corporate entity that offers training and support. If yes, what will the support mechanism be? Will Tech Data offer support on these solutions or will they tap into, and provide some assurances around, the support ecosystms that surround many of these projects? I look forward to the follow-on announcements.

No comments:

Post a Comment