Westcon-Comstor rebuild gains traction, locally and globally

Westcon-Comstor rebuild gains traction, locally and globally

COVID-19 impact still being assessed, but may be less than initially expected

Dave Rosenberg (Westcon-Comstor)

Dave Rosenberg (Westcon-Comstor)

Credit: Supplied

Grant said if the business units of Westcon, which grew through the acquisition of regional distributors, could retain and regain a more entrepreneurial approach, Westcon would have big capabilities through the systems and processes now in place, with a small business mentality.

That would set the company up well to capture market during the rebound from COVID-19.

While the first quarter was positive, Grant said the company had now seen a decline in the number of quotes, order intake and bookings. He said there would probably be a decline in income as a result.

The questions that needed to be addressed were: how to prepare, how deep would the decline be and how long would it last?

The good news was, after doing that work, the impact now looked to be significantly less than originally expected.

The immediate future would be about digital engagement and configuring the organisation for the "new normal" and social distancing.

Rosenberg said Westcon-Comstor NZ was aiming for $225 million in revenue in 2021. While local business has yet to report its 2020 results, the $211.9 million revenue reported in FY2019, plus three per cent growth in 2020 (see above) would put 2020 revenue at around $218 million.

The local company was also shooting for 28 per cent of sales from software and 24 per cent from recurring offers.

Rosenberg said Westcon-Comstor NZ was continuing to invest in a service marketplace called Bench where partners can put their own resources "on the bench" or find resources from other partners for temporary services.

Another initiative was Westcon Financial Services which offered financing options not currently available and the BlueSky cloud marketplace.

"Our goal is to keep everyone employed and in good health as we go through the next 12 months," Rosenberg said.

Sir John Key said it was hard to "get your arms around" what was going on now. In essence the problem was we had two crisis running concurrently - a health crisis and an economic crisis. 

The health crisis caused the economic crisis but until it is resolved and in the absence of a vaccine, it would be difficult to return to normal and that would soak up quite a bit of confidence.

"I think we have a lot of optimism we can get medical solutions but we know that's not easy," he said.

However, while fears of a second wave persist, we were a hundred years on from the Spanish Flu epidemic with a pharmaceutical industry and knowledge base that gave him confidence that practical solutions would emerge.

"Technology is one of the bright spots," he said "There will be challenges, there always are. I don't the whole world is going to go to everything being online."

However, what we have learnt, he said, was that some things are highly effective and work and we will come out the end of COVID-19 with different approaches and attitudes.

For example, the pandemic had forced Kiwis to use tap and go contactless payments, and we were not going to go back from that.

Key warned attendees they needed to have a well-articulated plan, even if they sometimes sounded basic. They were necessary because even at the top of an organisation there were often quite large disconnects.

For managers, calmness, confidence and clarity were important as was believing in what you were doing.

"There is a mountain of difference between a well-run business with people who want to be there and are committed and people who don't," Key said.

"You can have the best product in the world but you also have to constantly challenge yourself and constantly want to be better and constantly have a view that it is about customer service."

Westcon-Comstor New Zealand has just over 100 staff and serves over 600 partners.

Updated on 22 May to correct the name of Westcon International COO, David Grant.

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