XMA and Viglen will continue to compete for contracts while the dust settles after the merger between the two firms.
As revealed by CRN last week, the two players merged to create a firm with a combined turnover of more than £250m.
Both are now owned by parent company Westcoast Holdings and the move cuts Apprentice boss Lord Alan Sugar loose from Viglen.
Speaking to CRN, Joe Hemani (pictured), chief executive of Westcoast Holdings, said the move reflects his passion for the education space.
“One of my many passions is education and how our kids are educated, and a lot of that is about computational devices. Now we have XMA which is pretty well entrenched in the education sector, and Viglen's products and services are also entrenched in this space and in particular higher education. If we amalgamate the two, we have a complete offering.
“It is about continuing to offer the services that people need. We provide best-of-breed products in the education sector and the good thing is both companies are product agnostic – if customers want Toshiba, they will get it, if they want Apple, they will get it,” he said.
Hemani said the inevitable question over Westcoast Holdings’ hybrid model has already come up, but he said neither Viglen, nor XMA are treated any more favourably than other partners.
“I cannot give a better price to a [Westcoast] Group company because of auditing rules,” he said. “Even if I wanted to, which I don't. We would never get our management accounts signed off.”
But he added the needs of the customer have changed, and having the ability to provide a full end-to-end solution and service should not be an issue anymore.
“Everyone creates their own value, and value is in the eye of the beholder. The recipient decides the value, not the purveyor. The value proposition has changed.”
He said Westcoast deals with over 6,500 resellers offering over £2.5bn credit a year, and provides all necessary logistical services.
“We cannot do more than we already are,” he said. “We want to work with all other resellers in the education and public sector space. We are not going to cover everything. We are happy to share that with every reseller that delivers more value to the education sector.”
But in terms of the merger, Hemani said the two firms were a "perfect fit".
“We are talking about two companies that are prevalent in major markets in the education sector, we have more synergy now that we have come together and the integration is almost seamless in terms of personnel, customers, geographies and product sets.”
Bordan Tkachuk (pictured), former chief executive of Viglen, and now chairman of both Viglen and XMA, stressed that the firms will carry on as separate entities for the foreseeable future until an integration plan is in place.
“When contracts/bids come up, the two companies will bid separately for those,” he said. “At the end of the day it is the customer that makes the choice and it is about what is best for the customer. At the moment we are not going to make any radical changes [to the structure] of XMA and Viglen, until we understand the impact [of the merger] and what it means for customers, employees and suppliers.”
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