Westcon ramps up services business

A group of people stand in a circle bringing four puzzle pieces together

Distributor Westcon Group has revealed how its recent acquisitions are fuelling its burgeoning services business.

Speaking to Channel Pro, Westcon Group’s EVP for EMEA, Jeremy Butt, says the firm’s latest acquisitions offer “tremendous opportunities” to deliver services to the channel.

Explaining the acquisition earlier this month of the Verecloud cloud platform, Butt says: “We have been selling cloud services for some time so we decided to make the move and buy our own technology platform.

“It doesn’t indicate we’re about to throw all the traditional business out the window, we think it’s a sensible, incremental addition to our business. We think it’s important to own our own technology, so we can manage our destiny.”

Adds Tony Nevill, managing director UK&I at Westcon: “The cloud opportunity in its infancy. Most people I know are taking a step-by-step approach to cloud adoption, rather than jumping in feet first. It is an increasingly important part of our business moving forward, but most people are e adopting a steady approach.”

Butt is also adamant that the purchase doesn’t mark a move to direct customer sales: “One thing we are absolute about is that we won’t compete with our partners. We are not setting ourselves up to be a cloud-based provider of our own solutions. We provide billing, usage, etc. but we work everything through our resellers.”

Westcon’s other big purchase this year was Intact Integrated Services, a services and support company to the Cisco channel. Intact – which was already owned by Westcon’s parent company Datec – added 120 new employees to the business, including 40 in the UK.

Combined with the acquisition of Iberia-based distributor Afina in 2012, Westcon now has 200 people in its services organisation across Europe – a reflection of Butt’s belief that both vendors and resellers increasingly need distribution to deliver services: “It’s becoming more and more important for specialised distribution like us to offer training and services capabilities,” he comments.

Westcon Group comprises three business practices: Comstor (Cisco’s biggest distribution business), Security Solutions, and Unified Comms and Collaboration.

Nevill moved over from Comstor to head up the Westcon’s UK and Ireland business during the firm’s recent internal reshuffle which saw the distie switch from organising itself around solution practices to being geographically-aligned.

“We’re still very focused around those three separate areas,” explains Butt. “We still have dedicated teams and retain separate solution practices as we have a relatively small vendor portfolio. We believe in specialisation – it’s what our customers and our vendors expect. But we can share services – finance, IT, HR, etc. and focus more time on specialist areas.”

Meanwhile, with IDC forecasting that the UC&C market will be worth $27.3bn by 2016, Westcon says it will continue to focus on growing its Avaya revenues, as well as focusing on opportunities around Microsoft Lync, with IDC claiming Lync enterprise deployments are are up 30 percent on a year ago.

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.