Express Data earlier this month announced the appointment of Philip Presnall as the new general manager of sales and marketing.
Presnall replaces Paul Plester, who had served as the distributor’s general manager for nine years. Presnall was the company's sales manager for its Cisco business, a position he held for four years.
“The main thing for us is that we’ve been on a good trajectory,” says Presnall. “There are a lot of elements that are simply going to be business as usual. It’s making sure that we keep delivering for our vendors what we’ve agreed to do in the plans we’ve developed with them.”
Presnall is a loyal Cantabrian and a self-described “massive Crusaders fan”. He is a veteran Express Data employee, having first joined the company in 1999, before taking a channel role with Microsoft in 2004. He did a stint with NetGear for a year before returning to Express Data.
Presnall says that the company is in good shape because of its people.
“For me, that is the key,” he says. “It is to make sure that we use the talent we have and to keep delivering and that’s the core of what Express Data is about, when you get into the philosophical level of where distribution is going. Generally if you have an eye on the market, good people and good vendors, you’ll do alright.”
Presnall says he is heartened by positive signs in the economy, but cloud services and consolidation of vendors and resellers is changing the shape of channels for all distributors.
Reseller consolidation is happening everywhere. Presnall pointed to a recent announcement that as of February 1, AEC Systems and KarelCAD — both resellers of Autodesk, an Express Data vendor — have merged and are now doing business as A2K Technologies.
“We’re really having to look at the changes in the industry and kind of seeing how distribution wraps around that while still being able to be sustainably profitable and adding value around cloud-based transactions, app stores and those kinds of offerings,” he says.
That is to some degree determined by how vendors continue to go to market.
“We try to be nimble and adjust quickly to what our vendors’ requirements are and start to wrap value around that as we need to,” Presnall says.
The company has plans to increase its marketing activity for its vendors over the next 12 months, Presnall says. But he’s keeping the specifics to himself for now.
On a ‘philosophical level’, distributors need to look for ways to make it easier for resellers to do business with them.
“Things like consolidation of billing is potentially something that could be a handful for resellers,” he says. “When they have different customers with different vendors and different agreements, consolidating that is a basic idea in principle, but the execution side of it can be difficult, but valuable.”
Presnall says mobility will continue to be a key technology trend over the next year, and over time, as the UFB initiative brings bigger pipes to homes and businesses, ISPs are going to become new players in the channel, selling cloud services.
“You can argue that if resellers are not moving to the cloud and their customers are they need to look at it,” he says.
Presnall worked closely with Plester over the last four years.
“He made a big contribution to Express Data and left the business in really good shape,” Presnall says. “ED has evolved over a long period of time and everyone that has put time into that has contributed to that operationally and from a sales perspective.”