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Hybrid Platforms Trends Series: CDW Cross Pillar Value


Rob Sims

Hybrid Platforms

•  Sept 01, 2023

Each of the CDW growth pillars has excellent value when considered in isolation, but when you combine an outcome that is strategic across multiple or all the pillars, we can really unlock the potential. Let's explore the team that makes this a reality and how in practice this cross-pillar value can be unlocked.

Integrated Technology Solutions

I talked about our role as a Technology Delivery Partner (TDP) in the summary of the first article in this series and it’s the teams and people in our Integrated Technology Solutions division that make this a reality. By combining the technical capability of over 650 co-workers in the UK, who are focused on our four growth pillars (Hybrid Platforms, Modern WorkspaceSecurity and Digital Enablement), we can truly innovate, with you, to solve the most complex challenges.  

CDW Integrated Technology Solutions (ITS)

As a Chief Technologist, I am only the tip of the spear - being backed by all the clever technical people in ITS is what really delivers the outcomes. Our Presales team of solutions architects can ensure your challenges are translated into the most relevant technical outcomes, ensuring you fully understand the value of your investments. Once the solution is known, our Professional and Managed Services teams can bring it to life and either enable your teams to take on the day-to-day management or remove that burden from you completely.  

While this sounds like most value-added resellers (VAR) in the market I believe two things set us apart. Firstly, our global customer base gives us a perspective that is informed by a diverse range of real-world experiences. Secondly, we understand that making technology work is not easy and requires collaboration and orchestration of many components.  

This is why I use the Technology Delivery Partner wording - at CDW we will make things a reality that are: 

  • Not available on the shelf from any supplier. 

  • Normally considered unachievable within the required timeframe. 

By combining the best functions of a traditional VAR, a Managed Service Provider (MSP), and a Systems Integrator (SI), we offer a different type of outcome and mindset. This concept can be represented visually below: 

CDW - Technology Delivery Partner

Once we combine this TDP outcome with our global logistics and fulfilment capabilities, we have the end-to-end journey taken care of. From problem inception, through design and build, to delivery and lifecycle, we ensure that technology is working as hard as possible for your organisations.  By being the orchestration layer within this complex IT landscape we can allow you to focus on your business and its outcomes. 

The important part of all this is the difference between being agnostic and independent, something I am glad to see is already prevalent throughout CDW. VAR 'X' is aligned to Vendor B, which means the answer to all your questions is going to Vendor B - great if that’s the right technology, but if not? VAR 'Y' is not aligned to any vendor and claims to be agnostic; they give you six quotes for different options and leave you to make the choice, with not much value add in that engagement. Here at CDW, we have an opinion, we understand business-driven outcomes, and how technology can support them. We understand the requirements in detail and then provide our independent opinion on which you should consider. We take the 'six' options, remove four, and guide you through the choice over the final two. This ensures you reach the optimal choice with the least amount of effort and time. Of course, if all you need is someone to take a bill of materials, and fulfil delivery to one of over 180 countries worldwide, we are happy to do just that. 

Cross Pillar Value

Now we understand the value and capability that our ITS function can provide on a pillar-by-pillar basis, let’s take a look at how these combine and how that creates exponential levels of value for your organisation.  

Consider a scenario: you are looking to replace an application within your estate that provides some core function to business operations. Currently that application is in a datacentre and is architected in a traditional manner (database, app server, client software). The provider of the application does not offer a cloud route (today) and the cost to move to a new vendor is outside of the current budget capabilities. So, the business makes a decision to renew the software licence for another 3 years and keep the platform it resides on refreshed and operational, with a cost that we will call “H”. 

From a Hybrid Platforms perspective that scenario likely looked like the best financial outcome - this would be the single pillar view. Now let's consider the multi-pillar approach. That software does not run well over VPN so is incurring a virtual desktop cost for its consumption - let's call this “W”. It also has various legacy components that increase security spending, called “S”. Then we must consider the operational impacts on the organisation and the wider ability to integrate into other processes and systems, called “D”. 

If we combine our actual costs of that application: 

  • Hybrid Platforms cost - H 
  • Modern Workspace cost - W 
  • Security Cost - S 
  • Digital Enablement cost - D 

The likely outcome is that H + W + S + D = more than the cost of the replacement application that did not meet the required ROI metric when considered as just a Hybrid Platforms discussion. Now I understand this is a simple use case for a specific type of application but consider mapping this for every application or even service, and every cost in every department. The chances are the opportunities to consolidate technical debt, innovate operating models, and accelerate transformation will become apparent when considered cross-pillar. 

Your business is operated on applications and data, which require a platform to execute on. Once this is known you can define the modern workspace needed for users to consume those applications. Only once these two components are defined can we wrap the correct security around to protect your data and users. Finally, leaving Digital Enablement to ensure everything integrates and operates to deliver an exceptional end-user experience and operational efficiency. This is the joint pillar approach! 

When we join this mindset with the future trends that the office of the CTO is tracking, we can start to ensure that decisions around technology investment are really driving value and that CDW can align as a true partner to your organisation, rather than just a supplier.  


Hopefully, now you can understand the reason we have created the Office of the CTO, what our hybrid platform's capabilities and aspirations are, and how we combine the value of our four growth pillars and how we execute on that through ITS (Part 3 - this article). My hope is that this initial three-part series can provide a platform for future discussion on trends and demands in the world of Hybrid Platforms, removing the need to keep readdressing the basic questions of who are we, and what we mean by a hybrid platform. 

The final part of this is to share the full team that comprises the CDW Office of the CTO. Please do connect with us all for regular content on each pillar. 

View OCTO Profiles: Kyle DaviesRob SimsTim RussellGreg Van Der GaastJaro Tomik

Final Thoughts

  1. Ensure that all projects are considered in a cross-pillar mindset so opportunities for increased value are not missed. 
  2. Speak to us as early as possible in any project or concept lifecycle - let us optimise that journey with the vast experience we can bring to bear on your behalf. 
  3. Start to reimagine what you believe CDW are and see us as a true partner to deliver joint growth. 
  • Rob Sims

    Chief Technologist - Hybrid Platforms

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