Congratulations to Westcoast Cloud's finance team for picking up the win at CRN's Sales & Marketing Awards 2023.
The group came out on top for Best Channel Finance Support Team/Initiative in the Distributor category.
Westcoast's finance director, Daniel Simpson joined the company in 2017 and took responsibility for the cloud finance team in 2019.
Over the past four years, Westcoast Cloud's revenue has grown by over 100 per cent.
Simpson tells CRN why he believes the SMAs matter, what are the company's proudest achievements over the past year, and his biggest challenges of 2023 so far.
Why do you think awards like the SMA's matter? What does winning this award mean to your company?
The SMA's are an opportunity to show appreciation to teams who play essential functions in supporting their organisations, but aren't always at the forefront when it comes to recognition.
The introduction this year of "Best Channel Finance Support Team/Initiative" is a great example of this and a chance to showcase some of the innovative work finance teams are doing in the industry.
Being recognised within the channel for their work would mean a huge amount to the team and would be testament to what they've produced in enhancing our financial capabilities over the past year.
What would you say is your company's proudest achievement over the past year?
2022 was our first year of exceeding £100m in turnover which was achieved in just seven years.
We wouldn't have seen this level of growth if it wasn't for how our team worked seamlessly together both internally and externally supporting our partner base to add value into the market.
What have been the biggest challenges of 2023 so far and how have you overcome them? How have your people helped with that?
With most Microsoft NCE renewals occurring towards the back end of Q1 and early Q2 across the channel and only the seven day adjustment window in place, there's very little margin for error to ensure partners and end customers aren't locked in for a years' worth of license cost they don't require.
The team started this process weeks before the renewal dates, upskilling and informing our partners on exactly what needed to be done and to what timeline.
Alongside this, development into our marketplace enabled the ability to pre-schedule these changes for an effortless transition giving peace of mind through the channel.
How do you think the channel has changed over the past year and what changes do you think it still needs to make?
Since Microsoft's NCE was introduced just over a year ago, in my opinion we've seen a race to the bottom in terms of pricing which has in turn devalued the product and service/support offerings by indirect providers and resellers.
This created less healthy competition throughout the year and more of a sales drive with price as the main focus throughout Q1 when the renewals come around and business can be won and lost. I think the channel needs to almost take a step back towards valuing the service and support offerings that sit alongside the licenses as this is what will drive value into the market.
What do you see as the main opportunities for the channel in the coming year? How do you plan to capitalise on those opportunities?
Over the next year we're focusing on expanding our knowledge and capabilities by adding a range of vendors and solutions to integrate into our current portfolio.
We're finding that more partners and end users are adopting a multi-cloud strategy as a way of improving flexibility, cost and security.
As such we've set up a team focused purely on technical demonstrations, training, security audit's and best practices to upskill our transacting partners to add this capability through the channel.
We've also recently onboarded Alibaba Cloud, Adobe and Dropbox to sit alongside our existing vendors to further enhance our partners managed solution capabilities.