Distribution Central nonplussed over Blue Coat axing

Distribution Central nonplussed over Blue Coat axing

Blue Coat’s decision to end its local relationship with Distribution Central has left the distributor at a loss.

Distribution Central has retained the rights to distribute the agency in Australia, along with Express Data and Computerlinks. However, Westcon Group has been given exclusive distribution rights in New Zealand after September, leaving Distribution Central out in the cold. In addition, Blue Coat has dropped Westcon as a distributor in Australia.

Blue Coat ANZ director of channels Peter Owen says both distributors were doing well in New Zealand, so he faced a tough decision.

“The structure in New Zealand that was going to work was sole or exclusive distribution, rather than two distributors. We wanted to continue our relationship with both of them [Distribution Central and Westcon Group] so it was a shuffling of the deck as opposed to a clearing.”

However, Distribution Central ANZ sales and marketing manager Nick Verykios says he is “at a loss” as to why the decision was made.

“We’ve got the lion’s share of the market,” he claims. “We do the training and in-store evaluation there, and we’re not sure why they kept us in Australia but not in New Zealand.

“It obviously makes sense to Blue Coat, otherwise they wouldn’t have done it, but I’m sure we will get an explanation that makes sense.”

Verykios says in Australia the vendor has made decisions that make sense commercially, but claims that hasn’t been the case here. “In New Zealand I haven’t got to the point where I can say that yet, given that the reasons why we’re the premier distributor in Australia [are] also the same reasons why we’re the premier distributor in New Zealand.”

Distribution Central’s agreement with Blue Coat in New Zealand doesn’t end until September, says Verykios.

“We’ve got a lot of business to complete by then ... so we’re focused on what we have to do. October 1 will be an interesting day.”

Westcon Group is more accepting of Blue Coat’s decision, saying the reshuffle is a “good solution”.

“The reality is they had four distributors in Australia and they’ve decided to go to three, which is still a lot for the [country’s] size,” says ANZ managing director Wendy O’Keeffe. “For us, there is much opportunity and it is a good solution. It still allows us to do our multi-national fulfilment [with Blue Coat] as well.”

Owen says Blue Coat still has great relationships with all of the distributors and says it was “up front” with each party.

“There shouldn’t have been any surprises,” he says.

He also says that the deal means Blue Coat can roll out bundled incentive programmes to its resellers.

“We can do a whole lot of activity that we couldn’t do before because of the risk.”

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