Q: You successfully ran Westcon Australia for 10 years, before taking on the
wider APAC role, what are the notable differences between a mature market such
as Australia and the other Asian markets you're now tackling?
Wendy - Main difference is the pace of technology adoption,
markets like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan have Governments who are assisting
by driving the pace of high-technology adoption, however, other Government' are
slower to set the pace. We see complex implementations such as ERP tending to
be of simpler design, this is a good opportunity to evolve these business
implementations in future, but the emerging markets prefer to throw people at
the problem, given the lower cost of staff, whereas a more sophisticated use of
the tools would prove more cost efficient. Security is an increasing issue in
the emerging markets where sophisticated security solutions are a huge
potential opportunity. Lastly, there's a massive opportunity for education
where technical staff have fewer multiple-disciplines on average compared to
mature markets. This is particularly clear with technical staff who may only
have one or two disciplines, as opposed to a wider range of skills in mature
markets -- making these people more valuable.
Q: Westcon has been very acquisitive for the last few years, do you expect this
to continue, or will Westcon pause to consolidate its assets for a while in the
current business environment?
Wendy -- Westcon has aggressive growth goals across Asia this
year, with between 12% to 25% YoY growth for our core vendors. We'll continue
to both "build and buy" as appropriate. We've just started-up in Malaysia, Hong
Kong and Taiwan, and have recently completed our acquisition in Indonesia.
Q: Westcon Group appears to be taking market-share as a value distributor, to
what do you put this success over other value distributors?
Wendy -- Being a global VAD accounts for a lot, through our "GPN
global supply system", Westcon can deliver in 127 countries around the world,
and being able to offer this unique value to both vendors and regional channel
partners is compelling. Westcon is able to focus on 4 core areas of business 1)
Unified Communications 2) the Comstor business which is predominantly Cisco, 3)
Westcon Solutions, a new operation focused on high value-add, and security
vendors, and 4) the services business focused on cloud technology -- it's
unclear yet how big this market will grow, but we're expecting 20% of the
market will be made-up of cloud solutions by 2015.
Q: Of the recent acquisitions, which have been most successful and why, and
what learning's do you have from the more difficult acquisitions?
Wendy -- Datastor in New Zealand has been a huge success for us,
with 104 staff now and 100% growth in 2.5 years. What Datastor did differently
was build good differentiating tools for partners, like the configurator which
is a very neat tool for complicated unified communications config's. Also the
instillation service offered to partners has been very well received.
Q: Westcon is embarking on a new investment called Westcon Solutions -- what
exactly is this, and what's the logic behind the idea beyond what the Westcon
group can do as a mainstream VAD?
Wendy -- The concept here is to provide local focus and more
value-add such as proof-of-concepts for specific vendors. Security is a focus,
as is the BIG complexity in the virtualized environment. Key vendors here are
Checkpoint, SilverPeak, SolarWinds , Radware, Forescout, Certes Networks, Attachmate,
Q: Most vendors who are structured geographically around "APAC" or "APJ", are
frustrated they can't engage one single VAD that can address all countries
(China, Korea and Japan are the notable difficult cases), do you see a day when
Westcon Group will move on these markets, and if yes, what needs to change?
Wendy -- Yes absolutely.
We have just finalized our business incorporation in China with Westcon
Solutions. Korea and Japan are on my "to do" list for mid this year and early
Q: Westcon is approached daily I'm sure by small vendors begging you to
distribute for them, what advice would you give them to ensure a "credible"
approach, i.e. what homework would you expect them to have completed before an
Wendy -- (sigh) this is tough one, our advice to vendors
initially is to be very clear on which markets to focus on, open an office,
invest in some people in those markets and target a few SI's to get started. Engaging
a distributor is also important but be clear on what your expectations are so
that there is no disappointment on both sides.
Q: Of the emerging markets, is there one which excites you at the moment over
Wendy -- Indonesia! It's a very exciting market. We have just
completed an acquisition in this market and we totally expect to double our
business there very quickly not only in Jakarta but in other regional cities'
Q: In the last few years, RIS has seen a trend for Carriers acquiring System
Integrators in-order to sell managed services, and there is not an SI today who
doesn't claim a "cloud" solution of some description, what do you see as the
next exciting trend in the I.T. channels eco-system?
Wendy -- This is always hard to predict, but undoubtedly "cloud"
will play a large part in the model, if, as predicted 20% of the solutions will
be cloud oriented by 2015.
Q: It's a new financial year for Westcon, what are your top three proprieties
for fiscal 2012?
Wendy -- Now we've completed our Indonesia acquisition,
consolidate this asset and invest to expand. Secondly, invest and grow our
China business, and thirdly, continue to review acquisitions that make sense to
our business. On top of this we need to address one of our biggest challenges
which is ensuring we can access talented labor. In the past 2 years we have
doubled our staff numbers and we fully expect that this trend will continue at the
pace of our aggressive business growth.
For more information please visit:- www.westcongroup.com