Get big or get out?

That old phrase 'get big, get niche or get out' always comes out at moments like these with the news that another specialist distributor has been snapped up by a larger rival.

The acquisition of Sphinx, known for security and networking amongst other things, by Arrow ECS, will fall into the category of being seen as a 'get big' move.

But that would be far too simple because what has changed dramatically since that old channel phrase was first coined is that the way IT works together rather than in silos and the way it is being sold have made it increasingly difficult for those that like to approach the market with just one feather in their cap.

For Arrow ECS it gives them access to more skills, vendors and a bigger message to take to Europe. But for the rest of the channel it provides yet more evidence that what has started to emerge as the main feature of the market in the last few years shows no sign of slowing down.

The negatives are another credit line going down for some resellers and the question of choice might be raised by some. But on a positive side it gives Arrow ECS thew chance to provide partners it works with a much greater range.

This isn't going to be the last acquisition in distribution this year but it is just another in a lengthening line of examples of the way the one-stop-shop is becoming the dominant model in distribution.

There is still a space for the specialists and for those left in the space that was occupied by Sphinx there will be an opportunity to exploit some uncertainty but as another specialist is swallowed up the ranks of the independents loses one of its number you do start to inevitably wonder who might be next?

This was first published in June 2010

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