Westcon Group’s newly installed Cisco business manager has flagged better tier-two partner engagement and a fresh to-go-market plan as top priorities.
Former Nortel channels and marketing manager, Neville James, jumped over the fence to take up the Cisco role six weeks ago.
“Once I’d worked out that the Nortel/Avaya business wasn’t right for me, I was looking around for someone with a strong presence,” he said.
James’ initial priority was to fill up several vacant positions on Westcon’s Cisco team including business development, product and support roles.
The next step is establishing a succinct channel business plan to enable Westcon to better differentiate against the networking giant’s other Australian distributors, Express Data and Ingram Micro, he said.
“The distributors have started to blur over the past 12 months,” James said.
Westcon’s new channel engagement plan, which launches on August 1, would provide fresh programmatic capabilities, marketing initiatives and a stronger focus on specific partner pockets, he said.
James highlighted Westcon’s relationships with tier-two partners as a major area of development. They included state-based organisations and Cisco Premier and Select certified partners.
“Our tier-two relationships are not as strong as they could be,” he said. “The August plan is focused very much on changing that, as I see this as the single, biggest opportunity we have, coupled with getting more active with regards to services to our partners.”
Cisco’s Unified Computing Systems (UCS), video and the VCE alliance between Cisco, VMware and EMC were other major areas of opportunity with partners, James said.
Internally, Westcon is also splitting its product management roles to align with Cisco’s architectural approach around borderless networks and virtualisation and collaboration.
“We will try to build more specialisation into the team,” James said. “Cisco’s three key architectures are driving that. We will augment this with training programs and marketing efforts.”
James’ predecessor was Sam Paris, who relocated to Singapore to take up the Cisco regional alliance manager’s role.