Following an internal restructure, publicly-listed distributor Rhipe has appointed Tovia Va'aelua to the role of general manager of sales across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).
Va'aelua, who remains as the country manager for Rhipe in New Zealand, will be in charge of fast forward the company's ability to engage with its channel and provide a stronger set of managed and support services to partners.
The decision was made by the executive leadership who saw the need to create some efficiencies across the A/NZ market.
The role was previously held by George DeBono who left the distributor in July 2017 when the role was terminated.
"The role existed up until a few years ago after which the executive leadership felt it was safe enough for Australia and New Zealand to operate under separate country leadership/management," he told ARN.
"Today however, with the pace of change in vendor programs, the need for scale out of resources in both directions between Australia and New Zealand, it felt like the right time to re-introduce this role to help establish some stability into the sales organisation."
Va'aelua will also be responsible for ensuring Rhipe builds a high transaction and profitable business within the A/NZ region.
This includes everything from re-alignment of sales resources to the establishing of a strong customer-centric sales culture and even ensuring Rhipe's market facing staff have the right systems and tools to do their jobs.
"It’s a big ask and a lot to get done but we have a great team of sales leaders and a solid core of people who focus heavily on customer experience above all else," Va'aelua explained to ARN. "I’m confident we’ll get a lot of this stuff sorted within the first twelve months but make no mistake – it’s still a lot of work."
The role reports directly to the executive leadership team at Rhipe.
"After almost a decade and a half with Microsoft, I came away realising that the leadership principals I practice there became embedded. Therefore, creating clarity is the number one priority to ensure everyone knows the what, why and how of their roles," Va'aelua said.
"Over and above that, I have a very specific view of how we should be competing in market and that will be a key piece of the work we’ll be building as a team over the coming 12 to 18 months."
With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, Va'aelua has worked mostly in New Zealand and the Philippines, including 14 years at Microsoft and two at Datacom.
"After doing the country manager role in New Zealand, we’ve managed to elevate ourselves above the typical “race-to-the-bottom” mentality associated with distributors and aggregators and actually focus on our managed services, technical services and enablement offerings. It hasn’t been easy but we’re clear on how we want to be perceived in the New Zealand market and what we need to do to stay true to that."
Regarding Australia, Va'aelua said he wish he could say that he has some "differentiated magical approach" but he’ll just "shake hands and take it from there".
"We have a large base of customers who stand by us because of the value we add, so we’ll continue to focus on their growth. And if any other partners like what we’re doing and wish to work with us, we’re open to that as well," he added.
Rhipe has made acquisitions and expansion moves that backs a more managed services-focused mentality.
In January it entered into a binding agreement to acquire Queensland-based Microsoft partner Dynamics Business IT Solutions (DBITS) in a $4.5 million deal, potentially rising to $8 million.
The acquisition is part of the distributor's strategy to provide the "best platform", enablement and 24x7 support services around key Microsoft technologies and was expected to add implementation and support services to Rhipe's capabilities allowing it to broaden its services across the market.
In August, Rhipe revealed plans to acquire Melbourne-based software company Network2Share for a total consideration of $5 million. The distributor expects the acquisition will provide it with new and differentiated IP that will be exclusively available in Asia Pacific via rhipe’s Platform for Recurring Subscription management (‘PRISM’).
Also in August the company announced a joint-venture in order to enter the Japanese market.
"We do believe that what we’ve built and have to offer over the past few decades resonates well with other businesses and markets as well," Va'aelua explained. "We’re also very fortunate that we have some very strong relationships with vendors like Microsoft and Red Hat who support us into these new geographies because they too believe that we can help them accelerate the channel transformation to better solutions."