Azione's Glikes bearish on economy, bullish on group
The head of buying group Azione Unlimited is bearish on the economy -- and by extension, the integration business -- in 2016. In fact, he just blogged about his reasoning for that assessment for us.
It's one thing to bemoan the state of affairs; it's another to do something about it. In a state-of-the-state call with members and the press, Glikes said the uncertain economy reinforces why it's important and reassuring for integrators to be members of Azione.
Glikes said that as the market struggles, it's more important than ever for integrators to step up their marketing efforts, as the "one percent" that integrators typically service might be feeling jumpy and hesitant to spend as the economy presumably worsens. With that in mind, Azione plans to detail its plans to bolster members' marketing efforts through a "collective marketing initiative" later this month.
Glikes said Azione's goals for 2016 include delivering exceptional profits, creating a national network of integrators, sharing best practices, and fostering focused support for Azione's dealer and vendor members alike. The group now offers members a universal healthcare program, and is planning to create a software platform for the use of all members.
Currently, the group has 139 dealer members. Glikes stated that his goal is to increase that number to 200 by year's end. Subsequently, he'd like to cap dealer membership at 250.
Other stats: 18 percent of Azione dealer members do over $5 million in business; 85 percent of them have never been part of a buying group before; 93 percent of them are integrators (Glikes calls Azione the only "integrator-focused" buying group); combined sales are $465 million; and members' employee count totals 2,101.