Cloud News

D&H Creates New Modern Business Unit To Accelerate Everything-As-A-Service Sales

Steven Burke

“This is by far our biggest investment in over a decade, over $5 million invested in new roles, and also the biggest restructuring in our go to market that we have ever had,” said D&H Co-President Dan Schwab.


D&H Distributing is ripping apart the old distribution go to market model with the creation of a new Modern Solutions Business Unit aimed at accelerating everything-as-a-service sales growth.

The new 125 employee strong business unit moves the 105 year old distributor from a long-standing single vendor practice structure with dedicated vendor sales specialists to a multivendor everything-as-a-service business unit focus with new technical talent.

The four new groups within the new business unit - modern infrastructure, modern security, modern collaboration and modern applications – will rely on a team of D&H data center solutions experts who are focused on cloud, hybrid, managed services and everything-as-a-service.

[RELATED: D&H’s Dan Schwab: Our X-as-a-Service Tools Offer Partners ‘Incredible Flexibility’]

“This is by far our biggest investment in over a decade, over $5 million invested in new roles, and also the biggest restructuring in our go to market that we have ever had,” said D&H Co-President Dan Schwab.

Among the investments in the new go to market model is a team of a dozen new D&H customer success managers to help partners and end user customers drive adoption and consumption of the new as a service solutions.

What’s more, D&H has hired Earl Greer, a seasoned 41 year IT services professional from solution provider behemoth Connection, as the new sales director of the modern infrastructure unit, and former Pomeroy Technologies Vice President Adam Crockett as senior director of professional services.

As part of the new initiative, D&H has received the greenlight to distribute Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s GreenLake pay per use cloud service along with the ability to provide HPE Configure To Order (CTO) custom systems.

HPE, Microsoft Azure foundation solutions and Cisco’s cloud offerings are the backbone of the new Modern Solutions Business Unit’s charge into the data center solutions market.

“The Modern Solutions Business Unit at D&H makes it easy for partners to design, sell and manage hybrid, consumption and as a service delivery models,” said Jason Bystrak, who has led the D&H cloud and managed services charge over the last three years and is now heading up the new unit as vice president of modern solutions. “Our partners will benefit from higher margins and higher business valuations through this model.”

D&H has effectively “reinvented the wheel” to drive the everything-as-a-service revolution that is reshaping the distribution landscape, said Schwab. “This is vastly different than what other distributors are doing,” he said. “This is based on customer and vendor feedback on the disconnect in the marketplace and how we could solve that problem.”

D&H Co President Michael Schwab called the new unit an “inflection point” in the company’s history with a move toward “where the IT industry is going” in the consumption and as a service era. “Think about the evolution of the cloud business and value added services and how do you coordinate your resources to align to a go to market strategy that delivers best in class solutions for that business opportunity, “ he said. “That is what drove us to this inflection point.”

Bystrak, a 25 year IT distribution veteran, said he sees the new business unit breaking down the single vendor focus of IT distribution with a multivendor everything-as-a-service focus aimed at driving recurring revenue for partners in the as a service era.

“Partners today are getting bounced all over the place with a model that takes forever to put together a solution,” he said. “Distribution up until now has been set up in little micro business units based on how the vendors set the business up with distributors. We’re breaking down the walls between those business units and putting all those resources together on one team.”

Bystrak said he sees the new modern business unit helping partners build game changing technology solutions for customers in transformative technology categories. “This moves partners from standard transactions to more customized delivery and consumption models, from hardware to a more services oriented approach, from legacy operations and systems to advanced platforms and tools, from traditional financing into more flexible financing and cash flow acceleration programs,” he said.

D&H focused on the modern solutions categories where the digital transformation is having the biggest impact on customers, said Bystrak. “These are the categories where the delivery transformation is really happening the fastest with applications like Microsoft 365, Azure and HPE GreenLake,” he said. “Our experts are going to design the solution based on how the end customers wants to consume the solution. That is unique because most other dsitributors bounce people around to different business units.”

D&H’s modern infrastructure engineers are going to be key to helping design consumption based solutions, even providing critical estimates on the month to month cost of the solution depending on the platform, said Bystrak. “The operational engine is also key with the ability to meter, report on and invoice that consumption,” he said. “That is exactly what the D&H Cloud Marketplace does back to the vendors and service providers. We have the front end and back end covered.”

The new D&H business unit will be able to use a full range of next generation technologies to provide a wide range of modern solutions from cloud to hybrid to on premise with professional services to facilitate migration and deployment, said Bystrak. D&H will even provide a service level agreements for customers.

The unit’s new customer success managers will be key to helping ensure consumption of the new as a service solutions. “Step one is to land the deal, step two is to get people to spend the money because you are paying for what you use,” said Bystrak. “That is a real important role we are helping our partners with.”

D&H is also providing a new Success Path program aimed at helping partners move to the new everything-as-a-service and consumption models, said Bystrak.

D&H modern infrastructure vendor mainstays includes HPE, Microsoft Azure, Cisco, Cameyo, CloudCheckr and Nerdio.

The D&H modern security lineup includes Cisco, ConnectWise, ESET, Microsoft, Proofpoint, SonicWall, Sophos, Vade Secure and Webroot.

Among the vendors in the modern collaboration group are Avaya, Cisco, Dropbox, Intermedia, Jabra, Logitech, Neat, Lenovo, Nextiva, RingCentral and Yealink.

Prominent modern applications vendors include Google, Microsoft, AvePoint, BitTitan, SkyKick, airSlate, Corel and Opsgility.

The genesis of the Modern Business Unit is the D&H Cloud Marketplace aimed at making it easier for partners to purchase, provision, manage and invoice consumption and as a service solutions, said Bystrak. “Early in the process we are talking about how customers want to pay for the solution: a subscription model with a monthly flat rate, a consumption model for pay as you go,or a cash flow acceleration model where we pay you up front for a multi-year deal,” he said. “We’re real excited about building this new experience for partners.”

Vendors like Cisco, Microsoft and HPE are excited about the opportunity to break beyond the traditional single vendor practice into solution offerings where they did not participate in the past, said Bystrak. “The vendors are really excited about what we are building out because we are helping them show up in different ways and attract different types of partners they didn’t have before,” he said.

The ability to bundle in additional software and services in a modern solutions offering is going to drive higher margins, more recurring revenue and ultimately higher-valuations for solution providers, said Bystrak. “We are going to train partners to deliver these modern solutions and then give them the resources to make it happen at the customer opportunity level,” he said. “We want to make sure partners are not just selling old fashioned on premise. Modern is a hybrid solution that has the consumption benefits for the partner.”

The Modern Solutions Business Unit is targeted squarely at the cloud market which is growing at a 25 percent compound annual growth rate, said Bystrak. “If you want growth this is where you need to play,” he said. “The call to action for partners is to work with us early in the sales cycle so we can design the right solution with you. We want to be able to get under the hood and talk about the delivery model, finance model and the technical model. We now have a single point of contact that can do that for partners.”

D&H’s ability to be nimble and agile has been the key to disrupting the old distribution model, said D&H Co President Michael Schwab. “An inherent part of D&H’s DNA is our ability to embrace change,” he said. “With other distributors the status quo perhaps becomes embedded in their business model. It’s tough to turn for them.”

D&H is pioneering a radical new model that could save hundreds of hours in building modern everything-as-a-service solutions, said Warren Finkel, general manager for MSP superstar ACE IT Solutions, which recently merged with Omega Systems.

“D&H is revolutionizing distribution by simplifying the buying experience for MSPs and their customers,” he said. “This could save us hundreds of hours in research, development and training required to build modern solutions. This is a distribution game changer!”

D&H is, in effect, doing away with the old fragmented and arcane model of building a complex solution, said Finkel. “D&H is creating a one stop shop to help MSPs build these new everything-as-a-service solutions,” he said. “It’s a big investment in technical talent on D&H’s part. I see this as a win win for the partner, the customer and D&H.”

Ashley Powell, a sales rep who heads up the HPE business unit at Applied Data Technologies, a Charlotte, North Carolina solution provider that holds state contracts in North and South Carolina, said she see the D&H business unit as a leadership move to drive consumption and everything-as-a-service sales growth.

“D&H is providing a single point of contact to facilitate the change to the consumption and everything-as-a-service model,” she said. “I’m optimistic about it. You have to give D&H credit for being nimble and making changes to drive consumption and everything-as-a-service. We are having consumption and everything-as-a-service conversations with every customer.”

Aria Technology Group, Minneapolis, Minn. Microsoft cloud solution partner and a data center hardware and software provider, expects the new D&H distribution model to prevent the perennial finger pointing between vendors that often plague complex solutions, said John Tuschner, vice president of sales for Aria Technology Group.

“This is going to save a lot of time by providing us with a one stop resource for building modern solutions,” said Tuschner. “Before this we would have to bounce around between different distributors and vendors to get all the answers needed to build these solutions. This could save us a lot of time avoiding technical mine fields. Being able to take multiple vendor offerings and pull them together into a single consumption solution for customers is a big breakthrough.”

The timing is right for the new unit given the demand for complex data center solutions now that the pandemic is subsiding, said Tuschner. “A lot of customers spent money to get people up and running in home offices,” he said. “Now they are ready to focus on the data center looking at upgrading or moving to the cloud.”

The appetite for consumption based solutions is growing among customers looking to upgrade their data centers, said Tuschner. “Consumption makes it much easier for customers to upgrade because they don’t have to come up with a big capital expenditure to refresh the data center,” he said. “Now they can pay for only what they use with a monthly payment.”

Ultimately, Tuschner said he expects the new unit to shorten the sales cycle for modern solutions, opening the door for Aria Technology Group to reach more customers. “By not bouncing around to different vendors you can have a pretty big impact on the sales cycle,” he said. “D&H has been a great distributor for us. They have listened to the resellers and have made changes as the market has evolved. This takes D&H to the next level.”