The official coming together of distributors Crane and Westcon was market yesterday by a vendor supported conference held in London and attended by key resellers from amongst the respective former competitor’s base.
Opening the event, David Grant, former CEO of Crane and now Vice President of Westcon Convergence, immediately recognised the achievements of his former chairman David George in building both the company and the service orientated ethos that prevailed.
The new Westcon Convergence business is a sizeable organisation made up from the former Crane and Westcon voice business together with data products from Westcon and an intriguingly named Affiniti division. Westcon Convergence itself is one of three key parts of Westcon Group in the UK with the others comprising Comstor, their Cisco business headed by John Pritchard and NOXS, the security business acquired a few weeks before Crane.,
Grant emphasised the scale of the new Westcon Convergence and cited the division had 160 staff, 80% of which were customer facing, and anticipated revenues of £160 million.
“We are channel market leaders for our vendor partners Avaya, Nortel, Samsung, Packeteer and Extreme Networks and have the strongest level of voice and data skills in the market.”
Grant also faced up early concerns from the channel regarding credit limits by saying that any reseller whose account was in good health would find Westcon Convergence ‘continuously supportive’.
Likewise, Grant said that his new channel structure would be ‘Vendor Centric’ meaning that they would have dedicated sales, marketing and support teams for each of their key products.
Clearly it has emerged that former Crane employees are at the helm of the new business as alongside Grant are three former key Crane managers. Tim Brookes and Will Morey head up the two ‘core business platforms’ of Avaya and Nortel whilst Denise Drew retains her role leading the Samsung sales charge.
Throughout the presentations – all based around the theme of ‘Making a Difference’ it was clear to all that Samsung was not destined to be in the same league at the other two vendors – a point that was obviously crystal clear to all including the Samsung staff in the audience.
The fourth, and some would say most vital, element in the Westcom Convergence product mix is the Affiniti section which is headed up by Neil Moulton, the former Cisco and Siemens channel chief who joined Westcon last year.
Speaking to Comms Business Magazine Moulton said that his area of responsibility was in joining up all the key vendors such as Extreme, Packeteer, Quescom, Oak, Plantronics and Braxtel, to ensure that resellers has a well supported opportunity to sell holistic and complete end to end integrated solutions to their customers.
Reseller reaction to the Westcon Convergence ‘Making a Difference’ was positive with Ty Gardner, Director of Universal Group commenting that Westcon’s presence in Europe would be of great benefit to his company where he has secured multiple site deals with Avaya.
Universal’s Sales Director Brian Selby said he had four key areas of concern where distributors had to perform optimally; speed of response, a relevant product portfolio, support when needed and being kept up to date,
“We dealt with both companies before the takeover. Westcon were a pure logistics company for Universal as we dealt with them only for Mitel kit. Crane on the other hand provided really effective account management, marketing collateral and support and constant information streams. It looks like David Grant is putting that stamp on the new organisation.”