Darryl Grauman had barely settled into his new job in early May when he learned he was to give a big presentation to resellers.
“Before I started, I was on a week’s holiday after my previous role,” says Grauman, Westcon’s national manager for innovation and services. “Dave [Rosenberg, Westcon’s NZ MD] came to me and said I was giving one of the keynotes at Imagine. And I said, ‘What’?”
The experienced Grauman probably wasn’t as fazed as all that, in reality. The former head of strategy and architecture at Gen-i went on to outline to attendees at the Westcon Imagine 2012 what the distributor sees as three core opportunities for its partners in the year ahead: big data, cloud and the BYOD trend.
Grauman says he has been meeting with reseller partners around the country since the Imagine events in mid-May in Wellington and Auckland. Indeed, Grauman joins the distributor at a busy time. The company formerly known as Datastor rebranded as Westcon in March, hosted 1,000 partners at Imagine, and will be rolling out new initiatives in the coming weeks.
“Originally when Westcon acquired us [in 2009], we wanted to make sure the market was comfortable with the change,” says Rosenberg. “Our business is a lot stronger under the Westcon umbrella. It’s a lot greater than just data and storage. It seemed the right time to change the name.”
Beginning with the Ignite event — which until last year was called the Datastor Forum — the distributor has pronounced its aims to be the leading specialist distie in New Zealand, and the “global benchmark” within Westcon.
“We're fortunate enough to get access to multiple partners and vendors,” Rosenberg says. “There's a place for distribution to really lead how that all comes together in creating solutions.”
Rosenberg says logistics and channel enablement are critical to that success, to which end Westcon is working on tools to help resellers “reduce their cots of doing business and increase the value” of their service.
“It comes back to insuring that we continue to innovate and help our partners innovate,” he says. “It comes down to greenhouse or incubation, the ability to take new technologies and solutions to the partner community to help with everyday customer problems.”
The company is also in the middle of revisiting how it does that.
“We’ve embarked on a new classification programme for our products,” he says. We’re refining it. Ask me about it again in a few weeks.”
Grauman says his message to resellers is that the solutions to their customers’ problems don’t have to be overwrought.
“I wanted to bring it back to basics because a lot of people are kind of overthinking things and are quite paralysed by the complexity of things,” he says.
Grauman says that as a distributor, Westcon can provide resellers expertise for their products and services, and map out for their resellers where those products can be sold.
The idea is to help resellers distinguish themselves to an end-user.
“[An end user] may have five resellers lined up in front of them giving different bits of advice,” he says. “End users are suffering from information overload.”
In one of the core opportunity areas, the cloud, for example, Grauman wants to help resellers simplify a solution that might be “60 percent standard and 40 percent customised”.
For Rosenberg, the term 'value-add' has been commoditised and he tends not to use it. But the concept does seem necessary for any distributor with a mission statement of being the leading specialist IT distributor, considering the state of the market.
“There is consolidation in the IT market,” says Rosenberg. “It's changing a little bit with cloud. It's not going to replace everything, but we're seeing it change the way people buy, and there's going to private cloud, public cloud infrastructure, and we've seen the market contract. But we're very focused on the resellers we deal with, and we have a stringent process for the resellers to qualify as a reseller, not just someone who is trying to buy for their own use.”