US channel giant Zones wants to replicate its success on this side of the Atlantic, and plans to use its London office as a beachhead to fulfil its ambitious EMEA growth plans.
With revenue in the region of $1.5bn (£0.9bn), Zones is one of the biggest names in the US channel. It acquired its way across the ocean three and a half years ago with the buyout of 60 per cent of the shares of London-based VAR AK-IT Solutions, a UK channel firm of two decades' standing.
Founder Alex Kaye – who retains a shareholding and now serves as chief executive of Zones UK – explained that "we have a track record in the channel market which we are very proud of". He claimed that the business in this country is now "a smaller version of the US" incarnation, with a wide-ranging linecard of enterprise vendors covering desktop and datacentre computing, as well as storage, networking, security, and software.
The firm is projecting to post UK revenue of about £30m this year, and has aggressive plans to scale the business throughout the rest of Europe and beyond.
"Through the UK we are very much focused on EMEA, with some strategic partnerships in countries that are difficult to do business in, so we can provide a consolidated business approach for our customers," explained Kaye. "Our focus is not about local supply, it is about global supply."
Zones, which also runs offices in Canada, Australia and India, as well as seven sites in its homeland, is perhaps "not as well known" as the handful of other US channel giants – such as Insight, Systemax, and SHI – to have made moves on the UK market, its UK boss conceded.
"We have been the best-kept secret for some time; there is a fair amount of work to be done," he added.
But the US is now set to throw its weight behind a bullish plan to grow both the brand name and the top line quickly in EMEA. Customer demand to work with fewer suppliers across more territories will be the key to Zones' strategy in the coming months and years, Kaye asserted.
"We have worked very hard to develop a solution that allows large enterprise customers to consolidate their supplier base," he said. "There is a huge amount of globalisation and consolidation; that is something where we can build a solution to support an organisation. We are having some significant sales with very high-profile companies, providing companies with a single vendor to provide their products and services."
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