WhiteGold Solutions is officially no more. The unified value distributor passed into channel history on March 16 when the company officially became Exclusive Networks Australia, the result of the 70 per cent takeover by the French giant on August 31, last year.
The deal came nearly 12 years after WhiteGold was formed by husband and wife team, Dominic and Sharon Whitehand, and Jonathan Odria. While the two companies didn’t disclosing the value of the deal, Exclusive Networks Group (ENG) took a 70 per cent stake in WhiteGold Solutions while the three founders continue to be shareholders - 10 per cent each - of the business in Australia.
To mark the occasion, Exclusive Networks global executives Olivier Breittmayer (CEO), Barrie Desmond (COO) and Tony Rowan (CTO) flew in and presided over a gathering of WhiteGold’s employees who came to Sydney from all over the country. They also took the time to meet up with some partners.
And WhiteGold/Exclusive actually closed for the day. The first time in its history.
Rowan, Desmond and Territory Manager for Exclusive Networks Asia-Pacific, Dominic Whitehand, sat down with ARN to talk about what the company is offering the channel, how it sees the security industry, its tips and opportunities for 2015 and a lot more. This is part one.
“Our pedigree is disruptive technology and if I believe in all the forecasts and paranoia then VAD is the king with no clothes. Every year we hear the premature forecast of the end of distribution but we can see some signs on the horizon that the consumerisation of IT, what I call the subscribe tribe, everybody is willing to pay as you go, the acceptance of Cloud – although I always believe that there is an inverse relationship with the press, in that the more that is being written, the less that is being sold. But now we are at a crossroads where people are realising, ‘I’ve got Salesforce, I’ve got 365, this, that, I’m actually using a lot of sort of hybrid Cloud. What about my core applications, my storage, my workforce.' We’re beginning to see that people are considering a move to a more Cloud-based business.”
Is Exclusive Networks in the Cloud? “I think we are already,” Desmond said. “Who made the money in the goldrush? Was it the goldminers or the sellers of spades and shovels? We are very much selling shovels and spades with an eye on when the time is right we will have a Cloud proposition. Is there room for value-added distribution? I’m convinced more than ever that if you have layers of these VAST layers of services you can’t get away from complexity. It can be even more complex than managing your own infrastructure. The other things is where is my infrastructure? So where there is complexity there is still opportunity. There’s opportunity for us to add training services, to continue to help resellers go on this journey toward the Cloud.
“So what do we, as a company, have to do n this whole new world? We’ve got to think about disrupting distribution itself. We’ve always worked with disruptive vendors now we’ve got think about disrupting distribution and that’s why we set about on this journey to add more value-added services so you can see through the acquisition of ITEC we have a global delivery and logistic capability, we have global installation and professional services capability and so on. Delivering to global companies on a global scale requires a set of discrete skills.”
Central to the company’s 2015 play is its acquisition of global managed services provider, ITEC Intelligent Services, in December. As well as complementing the value-adding expertise of the Group’s Passport 24/7 professional services, the acquisition adds new, comprehensive global project delivery, installation and onsite support capabilities on every continent. It also extends Exclusive’s in-country presence into the US and mainland Asia for the first time.
“That gives us such a good capability. It’s not even limited to the vendors. It’s a service offering," Whitehand said. "For instance, we can provide remote access to provide support to any number of technologies. It’s such a differentiator. We’ve talked a lot locally about value-adding, and it’s been banging round for a while. It’s not actually delivered by most and it’s talked about by all.
"Knowing we have all that in our arsenal, but wanting people to recognise it or have a look at what’s changed, benefits from being our value-added services business because that gives me the hook for them to come and have a look and see what it is, then they learn about all those things Barrie has mentioned.
“We are one of the companies that does add that tangible value.”
In part 2 of this interview we’ll look at Tony Rowan’s take on behavioural analytics and its importance, the role his ‘ baby’, CARM plays in the Exclusive Networks offering to the channel, the best opportunities in security for the channel and SaaSonomics.