A business that serves as an intermediary between vendors and other channel partners, such as VARs and systems integrators, in the distribution of hardware, software, and/or services. With the rise of the cloud and other third-platform technologies, such as Big Data and social media, the role of distribution is changing, with less emphasis on logistics and products and more emphasis on partner enablement around services, solutions, and vertical markets. Distribution services include engineering and design, cloud solutions and programs, solution selling, network assessments, and software service consulting. (See related topic: value-added distributor, or VAD.)

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