After five months in the Westcon hotseat, Antony Byford tells CRN why losing vendors Juniper and Bluecoat doesn't matter and how the market perception of the distributor is wrong
Byford said he has 20 people within the business who either mainly or completely focus on Avaya.
"We have given Avaya a lot of attention. We have given them resources, including around product demos, and we have aggressive plans on how we can help their emerald customers to reach diamond and sapphire [level]," he said.
"We are spending a whole week with Avaya next week, working on roadshows. There is a core of die-hard Avaya partners out there and they have been close to Westcon for many years."
Juniper falling, Blue Coat turning
While Westcon's focus on Avaya ramps up, the distributor has recently lost a couple of vendors from its stable, with Juniper Networks and security player Blue Coat moving on.
"For three of the last five years we were Juniper's number one distributor," said Byford. "Why they made the decision [to stop working with Westcon], I don't know.
"I was not here at the time. Whatever reasons they had were down to them, but after being number one for three out of five years, it's an interesting decision. However, it is not one that has affected us after we just came off the biggest quarter we have ever had. This is despite Juniper and Blue Coat being 15 per cent of my budget.
"We smashed it without those two vendors and I'm really pleased with the response I got from the team, so for me it is completely irrelevant."
Byford said Westcon is not looking for any replacement vendors. "From a Blue Coat point of view, if you look at our security players like Check Point and Palo Alto, they have strong messages which are very similar.
"For the Juniper portfolio, we have Extreme [Networks] and they have a really strong and compelling proposition," he said.
The next 12 months
Byford said the forward strategy for Westcon is around five pillars: core products, refresh and renew, global deployment solutions, services, and people.
"On the products pillar, we are looking at what we are good at, what we can be better at and what drives our economical denominator," he said.
"On the refresh and renew business, renewals are a big part of our business, around 40 per cent, but we also help partners refresh, as there is a lot of technology out there that is not up to scratch anymore."
For global deployment solutions, or GDS, Byford said a lot of people do not realise that Westcon has the ability to deliver solutions globally and can offer a global reach for resellers.
"Around the services pillar, this is really important, and we have a huge operation globally around embedded support professional services and finances, including some zero per cent schemes so firms can start buying on a monthly basis," said Byford.
"Finally, on the fifth pillar of people, we have some incredibly good people within our organisation and I have hired six people already. These are people I trust and have a brilliant channel reputation."