After a decade in the marketplace, Groupe Millenium Micro, the channel buying community based in Brossard, Que., enters its second debate with a new slogan: “I.T, it’s what we do!”
“Today, any store could sell IT products but does its staff have the technical know-how? Our slogan reflects the fact that our partners have the skills required to help clients make good choices and to use their products well,” said, Carl Paquin, the president of Groupe Millenium Micro.
Groupe Millenium Micro, which represents a collection of retailers, resellers and independent web developers, is now focusing on supporting its member vendors and on a new commercial strategy in a Canada-wide market.
At its annual convention in Laval, Que., Paquin assessed the organization’s evolution over the past year by saying the buying community now comprises 269 members who run 292 establishments under three banners that are located across Canada.
Recently, Groupe Millenium Micro brought in channel partners from Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Prince Edward island under its banner. “We even have a commercial presence in Nunavut through a (provision, supply) firm FCNQ of Montreal,” Paquin said.
At the convention, which accommodated about a hundred exhibitors and several hundred attendees, Groupe Millenium Micro adapted its training and information activities in order to help its members follow trends in their respective markets, whether it’s those of individuals, companies or the education sector.
This year, for the first time, sessions were devoted to cloud computing which offer partners with new business opportunities in areas such as VoIP, backup, online storage, hosting, sharing and collaboration.
“A big portion of our vendors do sales. For these people, cloud computing is important when their market changes direction. This training has allowed them to demystify cloud computing, but also know how to present it to clients,” Paquin said.
“We set up partnerships with providers and sometimes we invest with those with certain solutions to ensure that there is regular income for vendors: instead of getting a lump sum from the start, they get a monthly payment,” he added.
According to Groupe Millenium Micro, fears associated with cloud computing don’t come from the vendors but rather from the potential clientele who are, for instance, reluctant to put their data outside of their own walls – hence the need for vendor help sessions that aim to respond to questions from clients.
Paquin underlined that the majority of cloud-based solution providers whose services are offered by group members are from Quebec or the rest of Canada. “Since we are a Canadian group, we try to avoid American providers as much as possible in order to keep the data in Canada,” he clarified.
Another trend that’s been the topic of information sessions is home automation and possibilities that mobile devices offer in the medium term in remote activation of systems and functions.
“We train our vendors in order to be at the cutting edge of providing these products and services, with the help of a Canadian provider. Home automation will be a common thing in 15 or 20 years – today, we think it’s unnecessary but we thought the same thing about smart phones four years ago, and everyone uses it today,” Paquin added.
Now that it has Canada-wide presence, Groupe Millenium Micro is reaching the stage of completing a communication and marketing strategy. Notably, the group is planning a publicity campaign in specialized publications and is preparing promos for TV.
Also, Groupe Millenium Micro plans to launch both a new corporate and a consumer Web site to service its clients and members. These bilingual sites will feature responsive web design in order to accommodate various devices such as tablets and smart phones.