Westcon is committed to providing more business insights to its channel partners, and is continuing to evolve systems and processes to share more data.
It’s been six weeks since the distributor launched its PartnerCentral cloud marketplace, and there are further plans in the works to increase information shared with partners.
David Grant, CEO at Westcon International, said it had already seen an impact from PartnerCentral, and that it still had an opportunity to deploy in more territories and engage with a greater number of partners.
“That’s now live in 21 countries globally,” he said. “We’ll have 17,000 users on the platform – about 50% of our global customer base, but we’re not deployed yet in 50% of our countries, only currently in English-speaking business language countries. We’ve seen since launch, six weeks ago, a 20 or 25% increase in activity.
“We are focused on driving our partners to use the marketplace for their benefit,” added Grant. “Customer Insights is a really important part of that reflecting back to the partners ... looking at the end users to whom they sold, what they sold, and then having a conversation with them about where that leaves additional opportunity.”
The focus on data does not stop at PartnerCentral, and Grant is looking to go further to provide even more information to partners after it completes its own digital transformation project later this year. “The really exciting [development] this year for us is the continuation of what we’re calling our second wave of digital transformation, and this automation of the data to the desktop, combined with our own intellectual property and data that we’ve already got in our systems and adding significant value to that sales process,” he said.
“We’re going to be unveiling our internal sales process automation platform, which will be built on Microsoft Dynamics,” added Grant. “And that’s taking the land, adopt, expand, renew modern solutions lifecycle management approach, taking the data and the opportunities we have combined with telemetry from the vendors and also their information about additional opportunity.”
Added depth to insights
Having identified areas where the channel can make a difference, that information will be shared with partners and also add more depth to the insights available on PartnerCentral.
“Why is that important? Well, it takes away a lot of the non-data-driven administration that the salespeople would have had to do,” he said. “It adds real value to the partner and the salesperson’s conversation. At a time like this, when it’s harder to find opportunities, I think the partners are really ready.”
Projects are taking longer to get signed off and it’s harder to get customers to open their wallets, but the mood music across the channel has remained largely positive. A series of results from some of the leading players has underlined there will be continued growth in 2023.
Last week, Exclusive Networks shared revenue growth in its Q1 numbers, and channel watchers can expect more upbeat messages to come out of Westcon when the firm shares quarterly numbers later this month.
“From a Westcon International point of view, that will show the continuation of strong revenue growth, strong financial performance on the bottom line and a well-managed business,” said Grant. “It will be supported by positive stories around vendor engagement. So, more awards; more vendor expansion. We continue to have good employee engagement.”
The business not only cares about its employees but is also keen to keep its sustainability push going, and the channel player is continuing to work both up and downstream with partners to make sure it’s reducing carbon from all parts of the supply chain.
“We’ve invested more in a bigger team to focus on our sustainability strategy,” he said. “We can directly manage what we do in our own business, but we have to influence if we are to achieve our 2025 and 2050 ambitions. We need to have influence upstream and downstream.”
Extending PartnerCentral, completing the digital transformation project, and focusing on the cyber security and networking markets will keep Grant and the team busy for the rest of the year. Like many across the channel, he’s remained positive about the projects for the next few quarters.
“If you look at cyber security, maybe the growth rate in some sectors has gone down to 12 to 15% versus 18 to 22% [last year],” said Grant. “But it’s still double-digit, which is a reason not to be negative. We’re focused on cyber security and next-generation networking. I think we’re in a really good space.”