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Westcon opens up about Romanian outsourcing move

Distributor Westcon has revealed a business process outsourcing (BPO) firm with operations in Romania will take charge of some of its EMEA finance and operations functions. Parent company Datatec announced yesterday that 300 of Westcon's 1,900 EMEA staff would be affected by a "BPO transformation" of its EMEA operations.

Westcon senior vice president David Grant revealed a phased migration of the functions in question will occur between now and mid-2017 and insisted service levels for resellers would not be affected. Although Grant was not in a position to divulge Westcon's BPO partner, he described it as a global outfit "in the top-right of the Gartner Magic Quadrant". "We separated our activities into those we see as transactional and those that add value to the customers and vendors," he said. "Anything that is very transactional we have decided to outsource to another organisation as it gives us scale and efficiency."

The outsourcing project will run alongside Westcon's impending European implementation of a global SAP project, Grant said, adding that affected employees may be offered other roles in the organisation. "It is not a case of everything changing on day one," he said. "Where roles are affected we will give people significant advance notice, as it's the responsible thing to do. We are growing, and while some transactional roles will be eliminated from the business, some new opportunities will be created so we will take as much time as we can to retrain and redeploy staff where it is appropriate to us."

Westcon, which operates through the Comstor and Westcon brands, has order-processing staff in 42 countries in EMEA, Grant said, adding that any staff whose roles are displaced will be offered the choice of staying on to help with the migration. Employee and other fees associated with the migration will cost parent Datatec about €11.5m in its current financial year.

Rival distributor Ingram Micro centralised more EMEA back-office functions to Sofia in Bulgaria last year.

Grant said it made more sense for Cisco, Avaya, Polycom, Juniper and Check Point partner Westcon to partner with a BPO outfit with knowledge of the region. "We have chosen an organisation where it is their core business to provide business processes and support," he said. "We are not experts in sourcing a facility or finding local language specialists and training them on what we do."

Romania, which is where the BPO firm in question will carry out Westcon's transactional work, was ranked fourth in an index of the top global BPO locations this year carried out by Cushman & Wakefield, behind Vietnam, the Philippines and Bulgaria. Grant emphasised that Westcon's "core value-add" will be retained in-house and claimed that neither customer service levels nor its ability to execute would be affected by the move. "Our top 10 vendor partners have all offered to make sure there is good knowledge transfer and are helping to train our BPO staff," he said. "If you think about it, most of our major vendors have some part of their organisation that is outsourced so are completely familiar with what support they can give us."

Graeme Watt, EMEA president at rival distributor Avnet Technology Solutions, confirmed his company has also made some steps towards centralising transactional functions, "but nothing like on the scale we are seeing with Westcon". "It is fair to say that everybody is looking to see how much of that non-technical, more run-rate, transactional operations they can centralise," he said. "We have been talking about it for a while and we will centralise functions and operations where we think it makes sense and keep things local where we think it makes sense." (source: Channelweb United Kingdom).

Westcon Group acquires Verecloud

Network, security and telecom VAD Westcon Group has acquired the assets of Verecloud, the developer of a channel distribution platform for cloud and services solutions. Verecloud will be incorporated in Westcon Group's Cloud Solutions Practice, which will be led by former Verecloud CEO John McCawley. Founded in 2006, privately-held Verecloud has developed a robust, Telecom carrier-grade, cloud services aggregation and brokerage platform with the ability to process millions of concurrent transactions in real time, including subscription and usage-based services delivered by multiple third-party services providers. The platform will form the foundation of Westcon Group's cloud digital distribution solution, designed to help value-added resellers (VARs) generate significant revenue from cloud-enabled services. "Weston Group and Verecloud have been working together during the past 18 months and co-developed a truly differentiated cloud go-to-market capability for the channel. Our services distribution solution sets us apart from the industry, hence we decided to 'in-source' that intellectual property through this acquisition. Coupling our channel cloud enablement services with Verecloud's acquisition will position Westcon Group Cloud Solutions to drive the business models of tomorrow," said Dolph Westerbos, Chief Executive Officer, Westcon Group. Technology OEMs and cloud service providers (CSPs) look for a partner that can "light up" the channel. Westcon Group delivers this through its robust cloud distribution solution – freeing resellers to focus on development of their IP, including value-added professional services and technical expertise to build a cloud practice unburdened by practical challenges, such as micro-transaction billing, service level monitoring, up- and cross-selling, etc. Westcon Group links third-party cloud offers to resellers and their end customers, and now offers an additional go-to-market channel for the resellers' own services offerings. Bringing these aggregated solutions to market on a scalable, multi-tiered, and full-lifecycle management platform will generate new revenues for technology OEMs, cloud service providers, and value-added resellers. Continued Westerbos: "Channel innovation is core to our business, and ownership of our digital distribution platform allows us to bring differentiated, exclusive solutions to the channel without relying on third-party software development. Furthermore, having cloud services distribution fully integrated with our hardware and software distribution systems and operational processes allows us to seamlessly transact cloud and hybrid solutions as business-as-usual." Westcon Group's cloud and services distribution platform delivers the following core capabilities:

  • Cloud/Service Offer Catalogue: Featuring compelling bundled and stand-alone offers, including demo capabilities from best of breed vendors and Cloud Service Providers -- tailored by industry, by vendor community, or by technology eco-system.
  • Solution Bundling: Aggregating best-of-breed cloud and service offers across multiple vendors -- ranging from more traditional technology OEMs to Cloud Service Providers to Value Added Reseller solutions. The solution also provides consolidated purchasing and billing data.
  • Multi-Tier Cloud Syndication: Selling service, software and hybrid technology solutions through a channel-optimized architecture, and full lifecycle management across multi-tiers. Channel tiers include the technology vendor, service provider, distributor, reseller, and ultimately to the end customer and their employees. Each party in the channel can procure, deliver, bill, monitor, and adjust usage and services -- whether that service has been purchased through the platform, or direct via the vendor’s/CSP’s portal.
  • White-Label/Reseller-Branded Web Stores: Cloud and service solutions can be offered as a standalone reseller-branded Web store or fed into their existing marketplaces. Service offers can likewise be reseller-branded, allowing the VAR to broaden its go-to-market position.
  • Automated Services Delivery Lifecycle: Including inventory discovery and service fulfillment – real-time and across multiple vendors; Visibility into services purchased, used, and modified – at any level in the channel ecosystem; Real-time service rating and billing through highly scalable micro-transaction engine; Service level assurance including real time monitoring, compliance and remediation; Identity management and account synchronization, as well as end user change management.

Westcon Group also provides channel enablement services to help resellers manage their business transformation. Westcon Group is building a set of critical Operational Support Services (OSS) and Business Support Services (BSS) to help VARs become successful cloud partners. Over the next year, these white-labelled/reseller-branded offerings will include:

  • Billing-as-a-Service, allowing resellers to bill for usage-based micro-transactions
  • Up- and cross-selling to monetize the initial contract sale and broaden service adoption
  • Marketing and campaign management to broaden customer reach
  • Legal contract creation services to create a legal framework and contracts for multi-tier service management
  • Contract renewal /subscription management to help secure ongoing revenues
  • Reseller Sales Enablement and training, including a cloud transformation playbook
  • Return-On-Investment analysis, including Westcon Group’s Cloud ROI model and executive presentation tool for reseller training or joint end customer modeling
  • Technical Support for cloud services, migration, implementation and SLA management, including training of reseller’s technical staff.

Westcon Group announces intent to acquire Intact Integrated Services

VAD Westcon Group has announced its intent to acquire Intact Integrated Services, a provider of project, support, and managed services to the ICT and Cisco channel industry, formerly a direct subsidiary of Westcon's parent company Datatec. The deal ought to strengthen Westcon's commitment to partner-led services offerings, empowering reseller customers with broader services capabilities. Headquartered in the UK with offices in Germany, Asia Pacific and the Americas, Intact works with telcos, OEMs, system integrators and VARs – helping to generate new revenue, deliver complex technology projects, and support global initiatives. A specialist in the Cisco channel, the company provides white-label services and support centered on networking, data center/cloud and collaboration technologies. Intact becomes a critical piece of Weston Group's Global Services Solution Practice, led by Executive Vice President Pedro Galatas. Helping partners expand their business, the company's focused areas include: Security, Unified Communications and Collaboration, Data Center, Cloud, and Global Deployment.

Westcon Group names Dolph Westerbos new CEO

VAD Westcon Group has named industry veteran Dolph Westerbos as the company's new Chief Executive Officer. With more than 20 years of B2B services and channel leadership experience at companies ranging from Dell to Brambles and ModusLink, Westerbos succeeds Dean Douglas, who will be leaving to become CEO of telecom vendor Unify (formerly known as Siemens Enterprise Communications). Westerbos comes to Westcon Group from Brambles and CHEP, where he served as Group President of Asia Pacific and EMEA for the supply chain and pooling solutions provider. As Westcon's newest executive, Westerbos will build upon the company's leadership in value-added distribution – with more than €3 billion in revenue and presence in 60 countries across six continents.

New appointments for GTDC

The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) has appointed Westcon President and CEO Dean Douglas as vice chairman of the GTDC and Esprinet CEO Alessandro Cattani as a new executive committee member. Douglas and Cattani will help lead the strategic direction of the GTDC – an association of the world's biggest technology distributors, which annually generate more than €99 billion in worldwide product and services revenue.


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Westcon Africa Kenya Ltd

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