by Kyle Alspach

For IT powerhouse World Wide Technology, partnering with up-and-coming tech startups is a major source of the value it can offer to many customers — even if "we're not driving a lot of revenue from them at this point in time," WWT CEO Jim Kavanaugh said Monday.

"There's a lot of value that we provide to our customers to help them get better insight into these new technologies that are coming out," said Kavanaugh, who is also the co-founder of St. Louis-based WWT, No. 9 on CRN's Solution Provider 500.

Kavanaugh spoke Monday during a session at the 2023 XChange Best of Breed Conference, hosted by CRN parent The Channel Company in Atlanta. He pointed to the company's unique approach of working with early stage, venture-backed tech startups in addition to a wide array of well-established IT and cybersecurity vendor partners.

Notably, WWT's work with IT startups includes testing out the new technologies at the company's Advanced Technology Center. The physical and virtualized tech lab includes six data centers and more than 200 specialists and is capable of performing exhaustive tests on a range of IT technologies.

"We see it as something that's important to the future of our business and helping our customers figure out, 'How do we evaluate some of these early stage technology companies?'" Kavanaugh said. "A lot of times, there's not a quick ROI around the investments."

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