In May this year, D-Link kicked off its ‘Innovation Tour’ in Italy to bring together key resellers and distributors and introduce the company’s latest solutions in business wireless and switching cloud solutions, such as the Nuclias platform.
CONTEXT was invited to all five events to present the latest trends in enterprise networking and wireless business solutions across the European distribution landscape. For D-Link it was particularly important to have an independent market research company attend and deliver an unbiased view of the industry. For CONTEXT, the road tour was a great opportunity to highlight our research capabilities across these markets, as well as gain an in-depth understanding of D-Link’s products and services and learn first-hand how local distributors are deploying switching and wireless solutions. There was also plenty of opportunity to network and enjoy the beautiful settings with guided visits and enjoying the Italian way of life in five stunning locations.
A diverse market
The audience we presented to was a mix of IT and electrical distributors such as Computer Gross, Esprinet, Ingram, Elmat, Megawatt, Acmei and key D-Link clients working with those distributors.
The Italian market is very diverse: the more traditional IT distributors are present in the North while the electrical distributors are in the South, where the market is more fragmented and a local presence with historic ties is even more important than in the North of Italy.
Some of the attendees confirmed to us that electrical distributors have taken a leading role in business security and networking installations due to longstanding relationships with smaller local businesses, as these have been historically the main channel for CCTV installation.
We also learnt about the challenges facing both vendors and the channel in adopting new cloud-based solutions. Many distributors and resellers are not actively promoting cloud-based solutions and do not deploy skilled technicians for the installation of these as it means taking the focus away from business related to the installation and servicing of hardware controllers.
The challenge of adopting new products which produce benefits in the longer term is real for many resellers and distributors. Many of their clients don’t have the financial strength to make five-year plans; this is further heightened by the nature of the Italian market, where smaller businesses are in high number and need to see the reward of their choices quite quickly. This means that the promise of a 30% cost saving over 5 years through a wireless cloud-based solution for example, is not often a winning argument.
Following the CONTEXT presentations which showed that cloud-based solutions are gaining traction across Italy and the rest of Europe, it seemed that the audience understood the importance of embracing this trend, despite numerous challenges that might present themselves along the way.
During the very interactive sessions, there were many discussions around how to overcome the barriers with sales and technical teams demanding more education and training for their local teams. A phrase frequently used was: "my technicians need retraining and I'm not sure I can do this on my own".
It is of course not only in the hands of the vendor or resellers, but client education is key to the adoption and the understanding of the benefits of those solutions for them is a fundamental part of the puzzle. Other discussion points centred around profit margins for software and licensing vs hardware revenues.
Altogether these were five great events with hands-on discussions backed up by concrete case studies, with a lot of drive from all parties to learn from each other. We are sure that the roadshow will generate huge benefits in the coming months for both D-Link and its channel partners and we thank the D-Link team for their professionalism and for integrating us as part of the team in these presentations.
© CONTEXT 2020