ST. JOHN’S, N.F.L.D. – I’m at the TechSelect Canada conference on the Rock and 99 per cent of the time these are joyous occasions where solutions providers, vendors and Tech Data Canada come together to toast each other’s success. I’m not saying this conference will not have that, but it opened with some unfortunate news.

Word has come down from the National Capital Region that has put a somewhat sour mood on this year’s event. Two Ottawa-based solution providers are no more. Their names at this point do not matter because their struggles were based on the federal government’s mandate to consolidate more of its IT procurement and purchasing through Shared Services Canada.

One senior executive told CDN that it’s a case of “the cheese being moved on the mouse” and for some reason the solution providers in this territory are either unable or unwilling to find a new alternative for survival.

Rick Reid, president of Tech Data Canada, opened the conference by saying that he’s concerned over the health of the channel community in Ottawa. This is saying something, as Reid is a glass half full executive.

I don’t have the answers for these businesses, but I’ll steal a line from the movie “42” about Jackie Robinson breaking the colour barrier in baseball. It’s from the Leo Durocher character in the movie. He plays the manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers and he says this when confronted by his team’s petition against Robinson.

“They are coming. He’s just the first. And, they are after your jobs. What I would do is stop worrying about them and focus on me.” Shared Services Canada is here to stay. It’s a reality and yes it has become a hardship for some in the channel. But it’s not the end of the world and Shared Services Canada is open to working with solution providers. Shared Services Canada, in many interviews with CDN, has made it clear in my estimation that they don’t have all the answers and are willing to seek outside expertise.

CDN recently published a story about how solution providers such as Northern Micro Inc.  and PureLogic IT Solutions Inc. won Shared Services Canada contracts. If they can do it, so can others.

And, maybe – just maybe – it’s time to look at the business community for new opportunities and not be so reliant on the federal government.

Two quick hits before I go. Karyn Cannata of Tech Data has just been appointed to the role of McAfee Specialist at Tech Data Canada.

Tom Marchwinski, the TechSelect field sales specialist, has left the distributor for a job in the vendor community.

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