3Com is creating a channel for its pending joint venture with Huawai, with its new UK managing director in a pivotal role.
Rob Coyne was named UK general manager by 3Com last month, with his experience in the channel and enterprise markets seen as key for the vendor's drive into the higher end.
3Com is hoping to recruit 300 resellers across the EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions to specialise in the products developed through its joint venture with Huawei, with a diverse group of partners being targeted for specific roles.
"I will be instrumental in selecting the right partners for enterprise sales," Coyne said. "Be it global systems integrators, carriers, VARs or fulfilment houses there will be a role to play in the high end."
Coyne said he has first-hand experience of end-user disapproval of 3Com's highly publicised exit from the enterprise market in 1999, when it dropped the CoreBuilder product.
"I was working at [systems integrator] MD Information Solutions when 3Com dropped CoreBuilder," he said.
But he is confident about future enterprise relationships. "The people we deal with are business people that understand the value of product, and they are looking to improve their infrastructures to become more agile," he said.
Good reseller margins are essential if 3Com is to take market share from Cisco, Coyne claimed.
"Cisco has done a good job and is the market leader, but the 3Com and Huawei venture will offer a good alternative," he said. "Double-digit margins are needed. Why else would a reseller switch to 3Com?"
Chris Absalom, technical director at VAR Computer Network Systems, said 3Com must work hard to build itself as an enterprise brand.
"Most of the people we deal with are in the mid-market and do not think of 3Com as an enterprise supplier," he said.
"But this is a positive move for 3Com. It gives it the ability to offer end-to-end solutions which it has not been able to do in the past few years."
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