Specialism: IT infrastructure and cybersecurity
Vendors include: Check Point, Citrix, Dell, Fortinet, Lenovo, Microsoft, NetApp, Nutanix, Palo Alto Networks, Pure Storage, VMware
UK net sales: £1.06bn (+7%)
UK headcount: 322
The UK arm of this global cybersecurity and IT infrastructure distributor saw net sales hike 7% to break the £1bn mark in calendar 2021, according to its most recently filed annual accounts.
Part of NYSE-listed Arrow Electronics, Arrow ECS was a $8.3bn-revenue business globally in 2022.
Its top line slid 8% year-on-year to $1.83bn in Q2 of 2023, with CEO Sean Kerins noting that the Dell, VMware and Palo Alto Networks partner “continues to see customers migrate to solutions delivered on an as-a-service basis”.
Arrow ECS sees its ArrowSphere cloud management platform as a key differentiator, according to UK&I boss Nick Bannister (see below).
“Arrow was the first distributor in Europe to launch a cloud marketplace”
Quickfire Q&A with VP Sales UK, Ireland and ANZ, Nick Bannister (pictured, top)
Just how tough is it in the market right now?
No one is immune to the global economic conditions, but there is a lot that channel partners can draw on to help navigate and manage the impacts. By leaning on Arrow, they can benefit from value-add services and support such as training, go-to-market, and expertise and skills that are in high demand, but short supply across the industry. In the last 12 months, we have also launched Arrow Smart Terms to help our channel partners protect their working capital. This can help businesses manage cash flow and provide the flexibility needed to negotiate and close opportunities.
What bright spots are you seeing? Which technology area or vendor are you betting big on for H2 2023?
There has been continued demand for hardware and software, particularly around cybersecurity. This is likely to continue, as well as adoption of technologies that support wider digital transformation – from complex, enterprise IT environments, to cloud, and software solutions.
Gigabit-capable full fibre infrastructure is a key enabler of the migration to the cloud and is becoming more readily available as the rollout across the UK continues. These networks are driving the adoption of cloud services that rely on a robust, high-speed connection.
What’s been your high point of the last 12 months?
We established our Arrow Authorised Partner Programme last year to deliver deeper value to our channel partners by addressing the gap between the large breadth of vendor solutions we offer, and the service capabilities available through our expert teams, making this support even more accessible.
Name one thing Arrow does better than anyone else…
I am proud of how our established cloud management platform ArrowSphere supports our channel partners. By delivering access to a broad multi-vendor portfolio of products, combined with automated provisioning and billing, we are removing the complexity of delivering these services. ArrowSphere is allowing our channel partners to build world-class solutions tailored to their customers’ needs. It is a game-changer for them.
What’s been the biggest development or news story in UK IT distribution so far in 2023?
The macro-economic factors are driving the evolvement of distribution. Arrow has long held the view that value-add services are critical to the success of its programs and the relationships with its channel partners and vendors. We’re moving to everything as a service. This means deeper collaboration with our vendors, creating more opportunities for our channel partners to drive growth.
The analysts see distribution becoming increasingly characterised by cloud and marketplaces. Is that reflected in the evolution of your own business?
Arrow was the first distributor in Europe to launch a cloud marketplace. ArrowSphere has evolved into a cloud management platform with our continued focus on its development. ArrowSphere provides channel partners with the ability to find, buy, and provision cloud products and services from the world’s leading hyperscalers, IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, HaaS and cloud software vendors across technology sectors.
MyCloud Portal, a white label platform, provides our channel partners with their own branded cloud marketplace. It gives them full control over product and service availability, pricing, and promotion strategy, as well as providing analytics. It allows a channel partner to hit the ground running, without the costs associated with development of a portal of this nature, and provides substantial capabilities to drive growth.
Can you give us a prediction on how the distribution sector will evolve over the next 12 months?
To provide services and support that channel partners can leverage to get to market faster and grow with less investment.