Westcon builds on Microsoft Lync business


Westcon Convergence exec David Grant has outlined the distributor’s key areas of focus this year, honing in on the “huge opportunities” for resellers around Microsoft Lync 2013.

Westcon launched a Lync business practice earlier this year, and according to Grant, who is Westcon Group’s senior vice president, developing the business is high on the agenda as unified communications (UC) moves further into the midmarket.

“We’re seeing a huge opportunity for existing resellers moving more into Microsoft competencies, but also the Microsoft reseller community is very interested in adding Lync to their existing portfolio of applications,” he tells Channel Pro.

“The Microsoft partners understand licensing and how the Microsoft machine works, [but] their customers might talk to them about the integration of Lync into a legacy-base or a connection to the PSTN, and [they] might have limited experience of those technologies.

“We can help them directly or through one of the service organisations with which we work.”

Today Westcon announced it had signed an exclusive agreement to distribute Active Communications’ ‘Lync IPBX' Appliance’, ACS Express, which is tailored for SMBs and hosted providers.

According to the firm, it extends the reach of Lync 2013 enterprise voice into organisations of less than 100 users at competitive price points, providing SMBs with an enterprise class UC solution with high quality voice and the full functionality of Lync.

Avaya IP Office

Another area of focus of the VAD is maintaining its close ties with Avaya, by developing the vendor’s IP Office solution for the midmarket.

“Westcon has historically been seen as a more enterprise, project-based organisation with Avaya, but we’re actually Avaya’s biggest IP Office distributor in Europe,” says Grant.

“We’ve got a fantastic customer base around IP Office and an opportunity to help organisations either upgrade to improve the productivity of installations, or upsell bigger or more complex solutions.

“We [can] take that enterprise and midmarket experience we have, combine it with our scale and take that to the market.”

The VAD has also teamed up with New Zealand-based software firm Versae, which provides hosted applications on the Avaya platform to help resellers address capacity planning and areas of potential bottleneck within their customer base. Resellers will be able to white label the hosted solution to add value to their service offering, says Grant.

The firm’s final point of focus in 2013 is videoconferencing, which Grant describes as “an increasingly significant opportunity.”

In particular he cites Westcon’s relationship with Polycom, s also part of Lync ecosystem. He concedes that while top-end, telepresence solutions are seeing a fall in sales, cheap and available bandwidth means video is coming of age, with more take-up in meeting rooms, the desktop and on mobile devices.

Weston recently moved into a new UK HQ in Crawley, Surrey and is set to open a new customer experience centre this summer, where resellers can demonstrate the VAD’s full line card of products.

Christine Horton

Christine has been a tech journalist for over 20 years, 10 of which she spent exclusively covering the IT Channel. From 2006-2009 she worked as the editor of Channel Business, before moving on to ChannelPro where she was editor and, latterly, senior editor.

Since 2016, she has been a freelance writer, editor, and copywriter and continues to cover the channel in addition to broader IT themes. Additionally, she provides media training explaining what the channel is and why it’s important to businesses.