Tapping into an agile software development mindset, WestconGroup continues to execute on a three-year plan that involves services, cloud and customer experience. Lynn Murphy, executive VP of North America, described the multi-year journey -- and the implications for channel partners -- in a ChannelE2E interview today.
Rewind about 18 months. At that time, WestconGroup wrapped up a three-year plan that leaned heavily on globalization. "We now have IT distribution's broadest global footprint," Murphy says of the effort. "Our current three-year plan focuses on growing capabilities across services, cloud and the customer experience. Many of our efforts in those areas involve lofty, long-term goals."
WestconGroup's Priorities Explained
Here's a closer look at each of the three priority areas.
Services: Here, WestconGroup promotes dynamic value partnerships to VARs and resellers. The goal is to augment partner capabilities -- not compete with them -- in three areas: Professional services, training and supply chain services. A few examples: WestconGroup now offers a training center for Palo Alto Networks partners. And on the professional services front, partners can leverage white label opportunities. The results sound promising: WestconGroup achieved double-digit growth in the services sector over the past year.
Cloud: Here, the big effort involves BlueSky -- which is based upon WestconGroup's September 2014 buyout of Verecloud Inc. The acquired technology supports cloud service catalogs, solution bundling, cloud syndication, white label web stores and automated services delivery lifecycles, among other things.
WestconGroup previewed BlueSky during a partner gathering earlier this month in Orlando, Fla. The platform certainly looks promising, but several other distributors are ramping up somewhat similar efforts -- Ingram Micro Cloud and Tech Data TDCloud/StreamOne certainly come to mind.
Customer Experience: Here, it sounds like WestconGroup is preparing to unveil the first stage of progress in spring 2016. The effort is based on partner feedback gathered in recent months. "We're careful not to make too many promises before we launch an initiative," says Murphy. But, she says, the spring 2016 customer experience milestone won't be a one-time event. Instead, it will involve continued enhancements -- based on an agile development process -- every three to four weeks.
Partnering Across Technology Waves
Of course, the company continues to help partners ride multiple technology waves -- many of which have multiple points of intersection.
As VARs weigh their go-to-market strategies (build, buy or partner), WestconGroup expects more and more resellers to choose the dynamic value partnership route. For instance, unified communications VARs may need to partner up to address mobility and security. "You're not just putting in a phone system anymore," she notes. "It's instant messaging. It's video. It's mobile. And it all has to be secure."
Security has been one of WestconGroup's strongest performing technology areas this year. Some of the credit involves the company's incubation program. That effort plugged Palo Alto Networks, FireEye and other companies into the distributor's partner network long before the vendors were household names in the IT channel. "In the past, we were looking for vendors to join our incubation programs," she says. "Now, the vendors are seeking us out."
Balancing New Waves and Existing Priorities
And what about emerging waves like big data? "I think navigating big data is a bit like a marathon," Murphy says. "Some partners are heading toward the finish line but most of them are in the early days of figuring out what to do with all that data."
No doubt, big data is on WestconGroup's radar. But it's a safe bet every step forward for the distributor must also align with the company's three year plan -- across services, cloud and customer experience.