Just 40km north of midtown Manhattan sits the sleepy village of Tarrytown, unassuming in nature yet home to one of the biggest overhauls in distribution history.
In Westcon Group, headquartered on the eastern bank of New York’s Hudson River, change is fast-flowing through the company, merging into a collective approach to modern distributorship, from the boardroom to the basement.
Under the stewardship of CEO Dolph Westerbos, entering his second year in office, the global powerhouse in the world of value-added distribution has recognised that progress is impossible without change, it simply isn’t attainable.
Triggered by the executive recruitment of Adam Kuta as CIO, joining the company from fashion accessory leader Coach in December 2014, Westcon has plunged head-first into a new era, moving with the times and joining the party.
“We know what we have to do and we’re getting on and doing it,” says Kuta, speaking exclusively to Reseller News from Westcon’s New Zealand offices in Auckland.
A simple statement perhaps, but Kuta’s approach is anything but. Drawing on nearly 30 years of experience driving core technology initiatives, the towering global leader is well-versed in the art of change, championing worldwide IT roadmaps across a range of sectors.
Joining Westcon during a period of great flux, Kuta is widely acknowledged in the industry as a safe, yet innovative, pair of hands, capable of executing the company’s global strategy of enabling partners to more efficiently and effectively serve their customers.
“Absolutely, there is a lot of change going on at Westcon but it is very much positive change,” adds Kuta, visiting Westcon’s New Zealand and Australian divisions for the first time in his new role.
“When I look at what Dolph has assembled, he’s created the best of both the old and the new world.
“To be honest, before I came on board my initial fear was whether the company was willing and able to invest in everything that I wanted to achieve because I could already tell we were behind.
“I came into Westcon with a clear vision of the future and it’s great to know the board has backed me all the way, and continues to do so.”
Admittedly, the affable American walked into Westcon Towers under immediate pressure, as leaders ramped up the need to significantly invest in new technology and capabilities, a move which in the view of Kuta, was deferred for “way too long.”
Refreshingly honest in his assessment of previous failings, Kuta’s aggressive plans for 2015 and beyond will reshape Westcon’s entire distribution model, a model honed in New Zealand and soon to be launched in North America.
“We’re being very aggressive with our launch plans and are looking at July or August in North America this year,” says Kuta, referring to the Westcon’s revamped marketplace offering for reseller partners, known as Bluesky.
“The Verecloud acquisition has provided us with a head-start and my team is currently working on the marketplace and looking to implement at least the first phase of it within the coming months.
“As soon as North America is sorted we will be looking to New Zealand to continue the rollout, which could be towards the tail end of the year.”
As revealed by Reseller News in September last year, Kuta believes the benefits of Westcon’s recent acquisition of cloud and services solution provider Verecloud are now becoming clear, as the company ramps up its levels of channel innovation.
Echoing the comments of Westerbos at the time of the deal, Kuta is confident that ownership of a digital distribution platform now allows Westcon to provide differentiated, exclusive solutions to the channel without relying on third-party software development.
“Verecloud has helped us regain a lot of lost ground and we don’t want to lose it so it's onwards and upwards towards Cloud,” he adds.
“I certainly don’t feel we are behind and in the next 6-9 months the industry will be thinking, ‘wow, where did Westcon come from?’
“If you look at the platform our resellers are going to use, such as the website and the e-commerce platform, the Verecloud acquisition is very much going to provide the engine in the background.”
Adopting the SAP-owned Hybris e-commerce offering, Westcon aiming for a July / August implementation deadline across North America is designed to help support the cloud business and towards the latter part of the calendar year, to further support other aspects of the business also.
“This means resellers will have both digital and physical distribution on the same website which will be very compelling,” Kuta explains. “It’s a great platform for resellers from a store perspective.”