Germany: AV specialist Kindermann has expanded its portfolio with Ctouch LFD touchscreens, from Dutch vendor and distributor Sahara. On its side, telephony specialist ENO Telecom has added O2 business offers to its catalog. Swiss digital signage vendor SpinetiX has decided to complement its presence in the country with the appointment of AV and security VAD VIDEOR. Finally, VAD Westcon has opened a new warehouse in Houten, the Netherlands, in order to address more efficiently and rapidly the needs of its resellers in Central Europe, including Germany. The new warehouse, which, with 8000 sqm, is 60% larger than the previous one, also offers integration services for its UC&C, Comstor and Security customers in the region (source: Telecom Handel and IT Business).
Cisco VAD Comstor has made a bid to boost the awareness of Cisco's security portfolio and encourage partners to embrace these offerings, with its Prove the Future initiative.
The scheme sees the availability of a free trial of Cisco's ASA with FirePOWER for partners which will be used to scan customers' networks to spot malicious traffic, and "ultimately help upsell more Cisco security", a company statement said. Comstor is also adding 20 sales and system engineers to support the scheme and will provide training and help with installation. According to Jeremy Butt, EMEA senior vice president of Comstor owner Westcon Group, the scheme is designed to reach out to more partners with Cisco's security offering.
"The benefit is that it raises the awareness of [resellers] who may not have been aware of the full security portfolio that comes from Cisco, and hopefully they will go further with it, try the programme and use the resources and capability," he said. "And for those who may have been aware of it and had maybe put their toe in it, to maybe get their whole feet in the water. I think with the additional capability and resources we have, we are able to support people taking those steps."
The scheme has been rolled out in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom and will target between 1,000 and 1,250 resellers. The distributor hopes to get about half of these total partners on board with the scheme.
Butt said the initiative was in reaction to customer confusion in the security market, adding that it aims to drive confidence into resellers when selling Cisco security products.
"I do feel quite strongly about the hand-holding part of the process," he said. "Those initial experiences with any new vendor or technology, I feel it's very important that everyone gets a good taste and a satisfying taste from their first experience."
The launch of Prove the Future from Comstor is in conjunction with Cisco's new Advanced Security Accreditation programme for distributors. This will see Cisco increasing its rebates from five to eight per cent for disties who invest in more security resources (source: Channelnomics Europe).
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).
VAD WestconGroup has announced the company's Comstor business unit has signed an EMEA partnership with SimpliVity to distribute the company's leading hyperconverged infrastructure platform, OmniStack Integrated Solution with Cisco UCS, through its offices in Angola, Austria, Belgium, Cameroun, Denmark, Dubai, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Portugal, Senegal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey and the United Kingdom. SimpliVity's hyper-converged infrastructure radically simplifies IT by consolidating all infrastructure and data services below the hypervisor into a single unified stack running on x86 building blocks. SimpliVity hyper-converged infrastructure is delivered at a fraction of cost and with extreme reduction in complexity over legacy IT stacks.
Comstor loses its head
Germany: Thomas Schoon, who was the managing director of Cisco VAD Comstor, has left the company to head healthcare-specialized service provider März AG. The distributor is now jointly managed by Martin Venmann and Stephan Nolden, respectively its sales and marketing directors.
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