Westcon: Networking Remains Our Core Focus in 2011
Back in the day when telecommunications and IT were two separate technology categories, value distributor Westcon was one of the first to recognize the two would be one sooner rather than later. Its legacy in the communications space and its focus on networking have since put the distributor high on the list of top-line vendors looking to serve a reseller base that understands the meaning – and impact – of convergence.
Now, 26 years after its founding, Westcon has expanded its areas of focus, but President and CEO Dean Douglas notes the company will always keep its feet firmly planted in the networking space — even while keeping an eye on cloud computing.
“Networking is still our core business,” he said, during a sit-down interview with me a few weeks ago. “I don’t see us shifting dramatically into any other area.”
A $1 Billion Business
Among the key priorities for Douglas: Growing Westcon’s Comstor business, which focuses purely on Cisco Systems-driven engagements. So far, Comstor is a $1 billion business. Douglas describes the Comstor strategy in this FastChat Video:
Additional Key Priorities
In 2009 Westcon formed two vertically integrated business units – one focused on convergence and another on security – to focus on two major areas of growth. Since then, it has brought on a host of solutions designed to address the needs of resellers and their end user customers, including offerings from ArcSight and Palo Alto Networks.
“As networks have evolved, we realized that as important as infrastructure is, security is just as important for the health of the network. You need to have both endpoint and network security,” Douglas said.
“When we got into the security space, we realized it’s extremely fragmented,” he continued. “There are several security technologies that could come together to address the needs of enterprise business. The market is consolidating, and key market leaders are emerging. We want to have a relationship with those key market leaders.”
The company is also looking to dip its toes further into other leading-edge technologies in 2011, recognizing the critical role the network plays in both premise-based and cloud networking.
“The increasing criticality of IT is driving network-centric data centers and capabilities – storage devices in particular are now being network-driven so we have made the moves to expand into that area,” Douglas said. “We’re making key acquisitions to garner the right skills and we’re also looking at what can be done with servers to leverage them as a unified communications appliance.”
Every new foray the distributor makes, however, is designed to bolster Westcon’s reputation as experts in the corporate networking space – something Douglas isn’t planning on changing anytime soon.
“I don’t see us getting heavily involved in the consumer space,” even as IT becomes more consumer-focused, he said. “But we are the CIOs of our homes and our perception of robustness at home is vastly different from our perception of robustness at work. We do video at home and then come to work and say, ‘I can do that here.’ And it’s putting tremendous pressure on the networks and it’s forcing the IT departments to become more savvy.
“That said, I think it (the consumerization of IT) and the access to web services at home bodes well across the traditional network market sector,” Dougles noted. “I think the cloud as we know it may be a reality today because of what we’ve learned by dealing with web services at home.”