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Westcon readying vendor marketplace

28 May 12

Westcon’s new innovation and incubation manager is working to establish an online store for Kiwi resellers. He talks to Mike Borgfeldt about his plans and why initiatives like this are important for the national GDP.

The IT industry has long been a key contributor to New Zealand’s GDP, with vendors delivering solutions and services to businesses around the country, on their own or via a distribution channel.

However, the new cloud services model is cutting a swathe through this business, with companies like Google and Salesforce.com offering their wares direct from overseas, and taking the profits back there too.

That’s why Westcon New Zealand is throwing its weight behind a move by parent company Westcon Group to establish a global marketplace to help vendors and resellers deliver their services to end users.

Darryl Grauman, former Gen-i head of strategy and architecture, was hired by Westcon New Zealand as national manager, innovation and services in May, and tasked with establishing the New Zealand arm of the marketplace with the help of local vendor and reseller partners.

Grauman says he’s ‘really worried’ about the revenue being drained from the New Zealand economy by overseas operators.

"The IT industry is going to contribute to GDP falling because of the way these cloud systems are working,” Grauman says.

"We used to provide all the services, the consulting, the support. Now it’s all being done overseas. Sure, maybe there’s a reduction in costs on the other side, but the two don’t match.”

Grauman is currently ironing out the details of how the marketplace will work, but he says the idea is to enable the production and sale of services on a comparable level with what’s being offered elsewhere.

"For example, we’re really proud of the guys from Xero,” Grauman says.

"We thought, if we could get more Xeros out there, we could maybe try and balance up what we’re producing compared to what we’re consuming.”

Grauman adds that the marketplace definitely won’t be about cutting out the reseller.

"We want to enable resellers to provide these services, but first we need to get the services in the catalogue.”

Westcon New Zealand rebranded from Datastor in March this year, after 20 years under its former moniker. The company was purchased by the Westcon Group in 2009; at the company’s Imagine reseller event in May, CEO Dave Rosenberg stated his intention to lead the group in innovation.

"We can’t be the biggest, so we want to be the best,” Rosenberg says.

Grauman says the New Zealand marketplace is due to be in operation around late June or early July.

"There are some challenges around that. It’s never been done before, and we don’t know where it’s going to go.

"But if we don’t have a crack we’ll never know.”

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