Select the directory option from the above "Directory" header!

NEXTGEN - Finding success through military strategy

NEXTGEN - Finding success through military strategy

As new technologies impact the traditional supply chain, Group CEO John Walters explains how NEXTGEN is leading from the front.

John Walters - Group CEO, NEXTGEN

John Walters - Group CEO, NEXTGEN

“We must look at the unique services that we bring to the market and assess how that differentiates us from the competition,” Walters said. “Our aim is to create new fishponds to help our vendors and partners go fish in.

“Will that always be in traditional distribution? Not necessarily. At the moment, we are providing digital audits for some of our resellers to help assess their digital footprint.

“We then provide a full assessment on strategy around how they can improve their digital profile, which is another example of how we are differentiating.”

For Walters, such unconventional approaches, coupled with a deep understanding of the changing landscape of the channel, has helped NEXTGEN forge a strong reputation across the industry.

“We are reaching the stage of an outsourced channel model,” he explained. “We’re talking to a few of our key vendors about this and it’s playing out with SAP to a large extent.

“We’re building the model as we go and we’re currently engaging with the partner community to talk about what we can bring to the table. But more importantly, what do our partners require? We want to build this new channel model together and ensure it is driven by partner feedback.”

All in on Oracle

For Walters, listening and acting on feedback remains a crucial part of the channel equation for distributors, forming a critical part of future decision making.

“The key for NEXTGEN right now, and this is something we are really driving hard, is our focus on Oracle,” he said. “It’s really easy to have a shiny new toy in the sandpit that everyone fights over, but we realise that we have to maintain our concentration with key vendors.

“We have doubled down on Oracle and recruited over half a million worth of dollars on talent to specifically service this area of the market.

“Our Oracle business is up 50 per cent year-on-year.”

For Walters, the ability to adapt quickly — while maintaining focus — has helped the business lay the building blocks for future growth.

“Everyone needs to hang onto coat-tails when they start a business,” he acknowledged. “We were lucky enough to have that opportunity with Oracle and in looking back on our six years, it’s clear that there was always going to be a seat at the table for a vendor capable of providing services and values around applications.

“Oracle has helped build the business we have today.”

But while Oracle remains an integral part of NEXTGEN’s strategy, Walters accepted that to succeed in the channel, expansion plans must be drawn up.

Credit: Oracle

Oracle and SAP aside, NEXTGEN’s vendor portfolio spans the best of breed disruptive technologies.

Specifically, the distributor’s marketplace also includes Actifio, Arista, Commvault, Nimble Storage and SolarWinds.

“We can’t be tied to just one vendor,” he said. “While we continue to invest heavily into Oracle, we
have to move outside of the square and expand our reach. We must offer more so our relationship with partners can become more relevant.”

In short, distribution is defined by its ability to be relevant, heightening further as demand for cloud computing increases.

“I’m not comfortable with the word distribution,” Walters said. “We are all judged by the company we keep and I think that the word distribution is still tainted with a certain view.

“A view of traditional deals, big warehouses and a ‘stack em up’ type approach. That was an era of limited services and clipping the ticket on everything. We’ve even dropped distribution from our name.”

In examining the IT horizon, new channels are emerging, triggered by new technologies, partners and product lines built around revamped business models.

“There will always be a role for a distributor in the channel because the vendor cannot service all parts of the market,” Walters said. “Likewise, partners can never build out all of the services and support mechanisms required to fulfil a whole deal.

“But we need to look at creating more revenue streams because if we don’t, we will fall off a cliff.”

Drawing on the words of his former leader and mentor, Walters said NEXTGEN will be defined by its ability to create and maintain momentum in a market forever fluctuating and always volatile.

“If you have the wind in your sails and you have momentum, then if you’re heading towards the rocks you can change course and get back on track,” he explained. “But if you haven’t got momentum, then you will hit the rocks head on.

“The biggest aspect of leadership is creating momentum, because from that, you can manoeuvre yourself towards success.”

Follow Us

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags OraclesoftwareSAPdistributionNextgen

Show Comments