As the company “significantly revamps” how it engages with resellers electronically, Kuta acknowledges that while the business will still support how partners traditionally interact, through a very email and PDF intensive approach, the end goal is to make the Westcon website a compelling experience.
“And for it to be compelling you have to give them the right level of information,” Kuta adds. “But when I look at our current suite, in terms of our digital offering, if I’m a reseller there is no incentive to go there.
“So firstly, we want to make it easier for resellers to use and secondly, we want to provide the right level of information, which has stemmed from our realisation that we need to change and also from reseller feedback.”
Prior to taking the role, and looking from the outside in, Kuta examined the website and, quite literally, thought, “Oh My Goodness this is ten years old, we absolutely have to act.”
“The old website says to resellers, ‘I want something from you’ but we want to change that and give something back,” he adds. “At the end of the day it has to provide value-add and at present, there’s nothing in it for resellers.”
The purpose-built platform is designed to make cloud provisioning and billing easier for vendor and reseller partners, while giving customers the ability customers to purchase SaaS and IaaS offerings through a network of select resellers.
Resellers and their customers will be able to procure and manage their own services via the platform while end users will be able to manage and maintain their cloud licenses, view their cloud consumption and charges from within a single portal.
According to Kuta, the cloud platform also comes with white-labelling options, so resellers can affix their own brand to it when providing services to customers.
“We’re looking at our website as a positive experience for the reseller rather than simply seeking information,” reiterates Kuta, keen to stress the message that as a distributor, Westcon is giving something back to resellers.
“I mean when you think about it, how does Amazon get somebody to buy a cup of coffee for $5? Even in my office people will leave the building, jump in their car and drive to Starbucks to buy a coffee, passing closer coffee shops on the way.
“I don’t even drink coffee but the idea of that staggers me and it’s all because of an experience.”
The realisation for Westcon? The need to build a platform from an experience perspective.
“It’s a frontline thinking approach that centres around keeping the reseller engaged and wanting to use our website,” Kuta adds.
Citing Amazon as a “huge influence” in his view on retail and building an effective digital marketplace, the question posed to Kuta on a daily basis is a simple one; What can you do to make it easier for the reseller?
“If you look at Amazon, you can buy something, they send you an email, you click it and there’s your order,” he explains. “Amazon is a great example if you’re working in retail and we definitely want to be able to introduce this and make it work for our resellers.”
In examining the cloud space at present, Kuta is unwavering in his belief that it’s the “Wild Wild West out there.”
“Everybody is still trying to feel it and I believe it won’t be another year before things begin to settle down,” he predicts.
“We’re still in an incredible period of flux because if you’re a vendor you want to protect your cloud product and go at your own pace, and if every vendor is operating that way then the market isn’t going to move very fast.”
From a reseller perspective, Kuta believes partners are looking for a marketplace to operate within, a marketplace Westcon are currently cooking and about to bring to the table.
However, the idea of competitor products available next to one another on one website is a very different mindset to what has gone before because when it comes to the cloud, Kuta understands that customers might buy a little from one vendor and a little from the other.
“That’s where Westcon, as the distributor, can play a very key role in providing that marketplace,” he adds.