Westcon is looking for greater portfolio and service consistency across EMEA under the stewardship of new regional boss Jeremy Butt.
Butt arrived at the distributor four months ago following a four-year stint as global channel boss of Avaya. He told ChannelWeb that Westcon boss Dean Douglas had been the driving force behind the creation of Butt's executive vice president of EMEA role.
"Our vendors want to have EMEA conversations, rather than talking to two or three different people," he said. "They can now have a very comprehensive conversation, from the northern tip of Finland down to South Africa."
Butt has been charged with ensuring the distributor has a more cohesive business across the region, with greater integration between countries and consistency of operations, portfolio and services.
"We wanted to accelerate the fertilisation of things. We may have one set of services that is very successful in France and another completely different set over in South Africa [that is equally successful]," he said. "I am not naïve enough to believe you can just do a copy and paste, but there is nothing wrong with moving things from one part of an organisation to each other.
"We want to give ourselves a more consistent portfolio. It is important that we have a comprehensive portfolio. In some countries we have got a few vendors missing. Some may have long, historical ties to another distributor.
"So, there are some vendor relationships that we need to strengthen; there will also be a few vendors [with which we part company]. I sometimes think that people are not honest enough early on in a relationship to say ‘you know what? This is not working'."
Butt is in charge of more than 800 people in Westcon's Security and Convergence businesses across the region. The distributor's recent acquisition of Afina will also bring in additional operations in Spain, Portugal and North Africa, as well as Latin America.
"[The acquisition has] improved our footprint massively for Iberia," said Butt. "We also have a very big business in Africa but had nothing in North Africa. I was with a vendor this morning and they said ‘we are so delighted that you now have a Westcon badge in North Africa'. We are very excited by that acquisition and they are a great bunch of guys."
Africa is something of a growth hotspot for Westcon, and Butt singled out the west of the continent as a key emerging market, with operations in Ghana, Angola and Nigeria reportedly blossoming for the distributor.
"These are places that are growing very strongly," he said. "It is a wonderful market, but there are some challenges. It is difficult to get good people and there are challenges from a trading perspective [in terms of] payment terms [and] exchange issues."
The EMEA boss claimed Westcon is in the enviable position of having enough scale to deliver distribution "table stakes" of credit and logistics, but enough agility to drive value-add.
"Just like a broadliner, we have rock-solid finances, logistics, operations and financial services," he said. "And we are massively larger than one of the niche VADs. I do not think there is any other value distributor like ourselves."
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