Author Archives: Richard Sloane

Westcon Goes “All-In” on Cloud Distribution

Recently, we’ve been talking to our vendor partners and customers about the cloud and the impact cloud-sourced IT services will have on the channel. There’s a lot of noise about cloud, and we’ve been working to harmonize that noise into a cloud services distribution strategy.  — one that will benefit all channel stakeholders, including Westcon Group.

In June, we deployed a cloud services aggregation portal in the UK, through which we began transacting cloud services business almost immediately. During this process, we learned a lot about what’s necessary to operationalize a successful cloud services distribution strategy. First, operational heavy lifting is required. Tacking this onto our existing business and expecting it to flourish is not an option; tight alignment with our sales, marketing and product management operations is a requirement, as is alignment with our procurement processes and IT systems. Second, the target keeps moving: new business models are emerging, new needs arise, and everyone (vendors and channel partners included) must figure it all out. The plane has already departed on cloud and there’s no time to stop and hit the reset button.  In striving to remain relevant to our channel partners, we’re changing the airplane’s navigation system in mid-flight!

At Westcon, we’ve been focusing on three key areas:

  1. Identifying and investing in mature cloud markets
  2. Helping resellers transition to one of any number of cloud-based business models
  3. Developing new capabilities that (a) help vendors bring their cloud services to market, and (b) help resellers make the aforementioned transition to cloud

 Identifying and investing in mature cloud markets

As a VAD, Westcon knows we’re not able to be all things to all people.  Rather than simply filling our cloud services catalogue with all available services, we’re focusing on the most mature cloud services (i.e., market-ready), under the assumption these are easiest for partners to market and sell to customers. As other cloud services reach maturity, we’ll add them to our catalogue. This iterative approach maximizes our investment and forces Westcon to stay close to markets as they develop.

Helping resellers transition to one of any number of cloud-based business models

Partners all over the world continue to ask for our help. They want to know how to leverage their existing investments, whether those investments be in managed (data, voice) networks, security operations centers or systems integration capabilities. They want to know how cloud services can be added  to their portfolio of offerings, quickly and easily, and with minimal capital outlay. They want to know how Westcon Group lowers their barrier to entry, either by providing access to best-of-breed cloud services from across our global vendor portfolio they can resell to customers, or by providing converged infrastructure solutions (hardware and software) they can use to build IaaS platforms, enterprise private clouds or virtual private clouds. We are and will continue to provide this value to our partners.

Developing new capabilities to help vendors bring cloud services to market while enabling resellers make the cloud transition

Westcon is investing in the development of new capabilities that have not typically been considered the domain of “distribution. We’re doing this to lower our partners’ and customers’ barriers to entry to the cloud. Frankly, this is what’s most exciting about the opportunity. After all, how many times do you have the opportunity to define a market in the midst of such a fundamental shift? We’ve integrated some of these new capabilities into our cloud services distribution ecosystem, with more to follow  

Distribution is inherently a conservative industry. The cloud, however, enables us to explore new, uncharted territory. Our goal is to be the best and easiest distributor to transact business with, whether that business is cloud services, infrastructure products, professional services or a mix of all three; to realize that goal requires boldness of vision and expert execution of strategy and tactics. At Westcon, we’re “all-in” on both fronts.  Stay tuned to this blog for more on our cloud vision in the months to come.