Channel Q&A: Yuri Pasea, CEO, Prianto

q & a

What has been your journey to CEO of Prianto?

I started my career in IT as a programmer specialising in communication protocols. Then in my late 20’s I started Kerridge Network Systems, part of the Kerridge group. We developed the world’s smallest notebook modems and using my communication skills embedded protocols such as 3270 and 5250 into them.

KNS went on to discover a small software company called Citrix in 1992 (way before they went public) and we were the first company to sell their one product Winview in Europe. We went on to build a successful business around the Citrix platform and ecosystem vendors.

I went on to sell KNS to Futurelink, but bought back the business and in 1999 we rebranded as Centia. We had distribution offices in Germany, France and Holland and a sister company, AKS, in Scandinavia. The Centia/AKS group was sold to Arrow in 2007 where I remained until 2009; as a broadline distributor, they were very efficient at selling ‘tier one’ products but their ability to service tier two vendors was virtually non-existent.

So in 2010 I started Prianto as a knowledge-based distributor focused on virtualisation, to provide tier two vendors the focus they need to grow their business.

What has been your best moment in business?

The sale of KNS Distribution to Futurelink, which was one of the first dotcom businesses of the time. It had an ambitious remit to build a world class ASP (application service provider) business. The first eighteen months were probably the most interesting and exciting of my business career.

What was your biggest regret?

The sale of KNS Distribution to FutureLink. Sadly FutureLink went the way of many dotcom businesses and failed in 2001. I was able to buy back KNS Distribution and changed its name to Centia. The next 18 months was a roller coaster of lows with the odd high before Centia was back on an even keel.

What is the best business advice you have ever been given?

Always respect a staff member’s decision to leave one’s business and be gracious about them moving on. These are people who one day you are likely to meet again in business. This has certainly been the case for me and provided new opportunities in business.

Which company (other than yours) do you admire the most and why?

Vodafone. This is a firm which started in my hometown of Newbury. I have seen firsthand how a truly British company, has grown from an unknown business into one of the worlds top 10 brands. It has also had an immeasurable and positive effect on the local economy of Newbury.

Which other CEO do you believe has done an outstanding job? Why?

Being a huge Apple fan I’m bound to say Steve Jobs, but this is an easy answer due to Apple’s success. However I do admire CEOs who have been at the helm of their companies for many years, such as Larry Ellison at Oracle or John Chambers from Cisco. These CEOs are true industry icons. I believe any CEO who has survived for over a decade in their companies must be doing something right. Otherwise they wouldn’t be there!

What is the single biggest issue facing the channel in 2013?

From a distribution point of view I worry about the financial stability of resellers in the market today. The liquidation of 2e2 took everyone by surprise and I fear they won’t be alone this year.

What are your predictions for the IT distribution landscape?

Cloud, cloud, cloud – it is all cloud! In the longer term many companies will buy their software and services from cloud providers. Resellers who don’t provide cloud-based services will disappear. With resellers morphing into a cloud services business then they will have less need to acquire software from distributers.

Distributors will have to find a way to enter the cloud market but who will they sell to? Resellers? I think not. I strongly believe the specialist distributor will make a comeback.

What’s next for Prianto?

Prianto will continue its focus on the tier two vendors, or the virtualisation ecosystem market, as I prefer to call it. The company has caught the attention of existing vendors needing focus and new vendors looking to enter the European market. We will continue to provide our vendors and resellers with the dedicated specialist focus we provide today and organically grow our company as we bring on new vendors.


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