Distie veteran and colourful channel figure Johnny Ellis is to exit the UK and lreland sales director’s office at Arrow ECS with the intent of ploughing his furrow in another area of the industry.
Ellis has been in tech distribution for more than two decades: he set up Open Computing before it was sold to PSL, which was then acquired by Bell in 2004 – where he worked until 2006 before switching to Arrow.
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“It is time for a change,” he told El Chan.
The man is not just referring to his own employment circumstances, but the huge revolution taking place as “generic” product disties face up to the shift in the way companies buy and consume tech - ie, managed services and the cloud.
“Distributors will find it difficult to keep articulating their true value in the world of products as the current model [suggests it] is business as usual,” he said.
Ellis was coy about his next move but talked about trying to help channel partners in the adoption of change, from supplying straight kit and licences to annuity-based products and associated services.
Arrow has made strides toward the new world order: it is heavily involved in offering virtualised infrastructure solutions, and new and emerging technologies. It is taking steps to embrace the Open Stack movement, via its MSP programme and ArrowSphere platforms.
ArrowSphere is a halfway house to the cloud, brokering data centre services that resellers can then resell. Interest is understood to have been huge, but as other distributors experienced, sales progress has been slower than expected.
Ellis told us “never say never” about getting back into distribution, but with consultancy opportunities that exist in the market, retreading the path seems unlikely.
Arrow’s UK exec team are currently recruiting for the sales director role. ®