Death of a community of partners or evolution?


Recent departures, appointments and subsequent downturns within the company call for reflection on ecosystems.

Retail giant TD Synnex has just announced fairly drastic personnel changes, starting with the departure of two senior executives. Industry veterans Sammy Kinlaw and Chun Lee leave the company. The duo oversaw the distributor’s community organization partner CommunitySolv in North America.

Sammy Kinlaw

Their departures are part of a business restructuring plan which shifts oversight of communities from the marketing team to sales. As part of this plan, Kaye McMillan, Vice President of Sales Development, will now lead the TD Synnex Communities team. Her title is Vice President of Partner Communities and Sales Development.

“Sammy Kinlaw Set [TD Synnex] prepare for future success by reviving the communities strategy and embracing true forward-thinking partner communities,” JS Group CEO Janet Schijns told Channel Futures. “The decision to move this into sales is just a logical next step in the evolution of communities for TD Synnex. [It is also a] testament to Sammy and Chun’s success in making the communities strategy work for TD Synnex.

Death of the partner community?

Chun Lee of TD Synnex

Chun Lee

So the next question must be, box sales take control of this ecosystem? Will TD Synnex monetize it through partner sales, not sponsorships? How will the company monetize it? Is this the death of communities? Or is it just an evolution?

Janet Schijns of JS Group

Janet Schijns of JS Group

“I think it’s more the evolution of communities in an ecosystem,” Schijns said. “And by evolution, I mean communities that are successfully organized are now being challenged to take things to the next level. [This is] where partner-to-partner ecosystems form and enterprise-wide solutions are more complex. As a result, older communities that focused on more single-threaded goals went out of fashion very quickly. But, the best companies are now scaling these successfully organized communities by now taking this structure and building it to produce even more sales.

The path of evolution

The effort to make these communities into ecosystems is what counts. Kinlaw and Lee attempted to do so at TD Synnex, according to Schijns. When a community evolves into an ecosystem, it can then move into production mode in sales.

Kaye McMillan of TD Synnex

Kaye McMillan of TD Synnex

With McMillan at the helm, it will indeed be interesting to see how the partner community component plays out. Will bringing TD Synnex partner communities under the sales umbrella open up more opportunities for partners to drive sales growth? Or will this be the indicator of the end of communities? Only time will tell.


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