Sun boss heads home as NZ market shines

Sun boss heads home as NZ market shines

Sun New Zealand country manager Rod Severn is leaving the country on a high note, with the vendor praising the role Severn has made in restoring Sun's sales following the severing of links with distributor Solnet.

Severn heads back home to Australia next week to become Sun State Manager for New South Wales.

His replacement is Peter Idoine, who for eight years was head of business development for IT services company RHE & Associates. Prior to that, Idoine held a variety of sales and marketing roles for IBM in New Zealand, Europe, the UK and the US.

Sun A/NZ national sales director Duncan Bennet says Severn and the New Zealand team have done "an amazing job" since the vendor severed relations with distributor SolNet last November.

"Our New Zealand operation is firing on all cylinders," he adds.

Severn started at Sun New Zealand early in 2002, having being a commercial manager of the vendor’s New South Wales division and then a commercial manager for Sun Australia.

He says the move back to Australia is a promotion, adding his family has already returned there.

The Australian sees “regrowing the business from SolNet” after the distributor’s liquidation as his main achievement.

A new channel structure was created, with Sun Microsystems re-taking some back-end operations from SolNet, including order entry, marketing and credit collection.

Of Sun’s 100-plus resellers, a top eight or so of systems integrators also “rallied to the fore” and “stepped up their business presence,” Severn says.

Sun Microsystems also recruited four business development managers (currently employing a fifth) to increase its direct presence in the marketplace.

“Our model is still a channel model. The BDMs are representing Sun at the high end of town — the banks, insurance companies and government departments — but in conjunction with partners,” Severn explains.

These main systems integration partners are Eagle Technology, Computerland, Datacom, OSS, Axon, and EDS.

EDS, in July, as a partner to both Sun and Telecom NZ, helped Sun win a contract worth tens of millions of dollars supplying back-end servers and software solutions to the telco over five years.

Adopting a multi-level global partner program iForce, Severn claims Sun’s new channel enjoys “increased margins for having solutions that fit the marketplace that are repeatable and referenceable.”

In the quarter ending June 30, Severn says Sun made 130% of budget and has enjoyed other major deals, including ones with ACC and several of the banks.

“It has been a stellar quarter. The market has appreciated that Sun has created a direct presence in the marketplace and increased vigour from the resellers.

“Customers feel they are not dealing at arms length, they are hearing from Sun itself. We are also now representing Sun with partners hooked at the hip,” he says.

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