Key vendors: SpyCloud, Filecloud, Centreon, Perimeter 81
Launched during the first national lockdown by industry stalwart Chris Walsh, this Leeds-based VAD counts Centreon and Spycoud among its vendors.
“Some of our hard work and seeding of the market done in 2022 is coming to fruition now”
Quickfire Q&A with ABC Distribution Managing Director Chris Walsh (pictured above)
What’s an obscure fact about ABC, or you personally, most people won’t know?
ABC stands for Accelerated Building Of Channels but it also had a hidden meaning from one of my earliest and most influential bosses who used to say ABC was “Always be Closing”. While some sales processes have changed, it was a little nod to having not forgotten what he taught me.
Just how tough is it in the market right now?
Very, especially when you are working with “emerging tech”. Anything that’s deemed “nice to have” can fall down the priority list. If the budget wasn’t created with one of the “emerging tech” vendors in mind it’s easily knocked off this year’s shopping list and palmed off until a new year.
What bright spots are you seeing?
Some of our hard work and seeding of the market done in 2022 is coming to fruition now. Where non-essential projects were pushed off we are seeing them now becoming urgent, which is great for a business like ours.
What’s been your high point of the last 12 months?
How partners have welcomed our business into theirs even at such a young age and how some vendors, even those who aren’t listed on our website, have listened to our advice around how to create a scalable route to market for their stage of evolution. Even if that means their RTM [route to market] isn’t a financial opportunity for ourselves as ABC. Aside from that we’ve had a few meaty deals and let’s be honest, every business needs those too 😇
Name one thing ABC does better than anyone else…
We are targeted in our approach when it comes to which partners’ doors we knock on with the products we represent. That’s because we’ve listened to our partners about their business strategies and try to only take a product that we’ve a good idea complements what they are already doing. So much work has gone into this at the back end, meaning we don’t burn bridges taking a new product every week to a partner who is already busy dealing with what they have.
What’s been the biggest development or news story in UK IT distribution so far in 2023?
Not saying it’s the biggest but one that was of interest to me was QBS trying to align themselves with a recognised investor in the IT space. To build an incubator specifically with a well-known VC has happened before, but maybe not as formally as this.
Which technology area or vendor are you betting big on for H2 2023?
Dark web data and allowing our customers and their customers to see data they possibly don’t know exists that the bad guys have access to. It maybe levels the playing field I guess. We will also be looking at solutions that can operate in a hybrid environment between cloud and on premise. We think it’s getting harder and harder for end users to implement solutions across a hybrid environment and those technologies that allow management no matter the set up are becoming more desirable.
The analysts see distribution becoming increasingly characterised by cloud and marketplaces. Is that reflected in the evolution of your own business?
It is but knowledge is and always will be key. Our own platform will launch late Q3 this year and has been designed to help new vendors and partners match up when they don’t have an existing relationship. For years I’ve heard distribution will die/change or evolve but what is often not understood is that in the first five years it’s more akin to business development than “typical distribution” and for me that’s never going to come from an automated process.
Can you give us a prediction on how the distribution sector will evolve over the next 12 months?
There will be acquisitions as there always is, whether that being at vendor level or distributors looking at accelerate their own growth and reach. This goes in cycles and has done for years. This leaves a gap for the next distributor that’s growing and that’s where we hope to find ourselves in a strong position.