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Westcon-Comstor Imagine 2016: Reacting to channel change in a disruptive world

Westcon-Comstor Imagine 2016: Reacting to channel change in a disruptive world

As the technology landscape in Australia changes, and the market follows in tandem, the channel is negotiating a complex new world.

With new solutions flooding the industry, and competition bursting at the seams, a new approach is required; centred around delivering business outcomes to customers.

For the Australian channel partner of today, differs to the one of tomorrow, as local organisations place new demands on resellers and integrators.

Whether it be cloud, networking or security, Imagine 2016 - Australia’s premier business technology event - will showcase how channel partners can capitalise on the influx of disruptive technologies to adapt in a way complimentary to changing business models.

As outlined during the CompTIA IT Industry Outlook 2016, “cloud computing, mobility, social, workforce automation, big data, the Internet of Things and other disrupters will continue to expand their reach in 2016.”

As such, local organisations will move beyond the experimental, early adopter stage into broader, more varied uses of these technologies, as they seek to capture the benefits of becoming a digital business.

Highlighted through a range of Collaboration, Innovation, Productivity and Cloud streams, Imagine 2016 will enable partners to deliver results in a way designed to stay ahead of the competition, through visionary keynotes and market-leading vendors.

Set for Sydney and Melbourne, Imagine 2016 vendors will provide in-depth analysis of the technologies leading the market at a local level, carving out key channel opportunities of growth in the process.

From a vendor perspective, here’s who will be showcasing solutions and offering insights at Imagine 2016 in Australia:

Juniper Networks

Juniper will be showcasing its portfolio of Enterprise Security and Data Centre solutions, with an emphasis on the networking giant’s unique end-to-end networking vision.

Designed to enable rapid business evolution, the solutions operate through innovative automation, performance and virtualisation capabilities.

“We will be highlighting the essential role of the network in powering your digital transformation,” says Michael Zutenis, Area Partner Director, Juniper Networks.

“The network is absolutely mission critical in today’s cloud-driven world - where your customers, partners and stakeholders are an ever-evolving, non-homogeneous tech-smart population, which expects your products and services to revolve around their heightened digital expectations.

“Evolving your company thus requires not just commitment and determination from the highest levels of your organisation, but also the follow-through technical capability to go to market in fresh and novel ways, all while empowering your employees to do their best work from anywhere, at any time, using the best tools possible.”

Alongside key partners and alliances, Zutenis says Juniper will demonstrate at Imagine 2016 how Australian organisations can stay ahead of the curve by building a “highly strategic, highly automated digital platform” - one which is agile enough to adapt and react to changes quickly and securely, all while minimising risks and costs.

“The industry is undergoing a number of exciting transformations right now, with a general shift towards cloud-based service delivery architectures focused on performance and automation,” Zutenis adds.

“Particularly in Australia, we see strong a demand and growth opportunities for solutions centred around automation, alongside global growth trends in areas such as data centre interconnect and the metro Ethernet markets.”

In Australia, Zutenis says Juniper continues to run 100 percent of its business through the channel, citing the importance of the local partner community as a key driver for success.

“Through our partner ecosystem we are able to get our best solutions in the hands of the customers,” he adds. “We are excited about what the future holds for us in the Australian channel market, and are confident of seeing continued strong growth.

“The industry’s pivot towards newer technology including that shift towards cloud-based service delivery is right in-line with Juniper’s portfolio and our overarching channel strategy - which is a continued, committed focus on customers and partners for whom building, improving and future-proofing their networks are fundamental to the success of their businesses in the long-run.”


Storage giant NetApp will be highlighting FlexPod at Imagine 2016, a world leading converged infrastructure solution powered by NetApp and Cisco.

“Partners will hear about why this solution is winning and how they can successfully deliver the solution to their customers by utilising the award winning Westcon-Comstor OneSource program,” says Neville James, Channel Director, NetApp Australia and New Zealand.

“We will also be showcasing the NetApp AltaVault Cloud-integrated storage appliance that can enable resellers to transform their customers data centre and provide real value in the cloud.”

James says NetApp has undergone a “rapid transformation” into a solution based vendor with a portfolio of products designed to provide resellers with all the necessary tools to take their customers to the cloud - private, public or hybrid.

“Our product portfolio spans small-medium business, enterprise, government and service provider and leveraging the NetApp Data Fabric will allow these businesses to manage, secure and move data across any cloud,” James adds.

James says NetApp has seen “significant growth” in the Australian market and is looking to continue this momentum with “committed and passionate partners” that desire to transform customers’ IT environments.

“NetApp will continue to invest in marketing and demand generation activities around our solution offerings in conjunction with our partners to continue to fuel growth,” he adds.


At Imagine 2016, Avaya will address how the channel can help organisations adapt to a changing, digital landscape through digital transformation-as-a-service.

“The ‘smart’ revolution is well underway and today, technology executives are aligned with business leaders across all verticals – government, healthcare, education, financial services, and so on,” says Darren Read, acting general manager, Avaya.

“In this smart world, organisations must predict and respond to demands to effectively service and support customers and stakeholders. MSPs and SIs play a critical role in enabling this for their clients.

“Working with our local partners, our aim is to enable digital transformation for Australian organisations. By providing customised communications services that align to the specific needs of each client’s respective industry, we want to enable them to evolve their internal processes and better adapt to the rapidly-changing needs of their customers.”

Read believes the uptake of digital technologies will continue to rise as organisations look to capitalise on cloud-based communications, flexible networks, big data analytics and artificial intelligence.

“However, many enterprises are inhibited by extensive policies and regulations, while mid-market companies and SMBs have limited resources to execute modern communications strategies,” he adds.

“This presents a significant opportunity for the partners that invest in the necessary expertise to offer end-to-end digital transformation-as-a-service, starting at the software-defined network and all the way up the communications stack.

“Those partners will not only boost the productivity of their clients’ employees, but subsequently create augmented experiences for their clients’ customers.”

Check Point Software

During Imagine 2016, Check Point Software will be showcasing its Next Generation Threat Prevention solutions, designed to protect businesses from cyber attacks with an “unmatched catch rate” of malware and other types of attacks.

“As we continue to expand across the region, New Zealand remains one of our focused emerging markets,” says Craig McGregor, Channel Sales Manager, Check Point Software Technologies.

"At the same time, our security solution offerings have increasingly become more comprehensive in the last two years, expanding from cloud and network offerings to mobile device security while at the same time providing customers with security “threat prevention” solutions.

“This is evident in our Sandblast Zero-Day Protection and our Mobile Threat Prevention offerings. On a management level, Check Point also recently launched R80 Security Management which is able to integrate all aspects of a customer's security environment so that they can deploy the strongest protection across their organisation without impeding the business.”

McGregor says that locally speaking, Check Point is a 100 percent channel focus business and as a result the channel will continue to drive the security company’s business across the country.

“Our partners can be assured that they are partnering with a pure play security vendor focused on providing them with the best solution that they can bring to their customers,” he adds. “At the same time, we are continuously working to support our partners’ business operations.”

Palo Alto Networks

“Imagine 2016 is a great opportunity for Palo Alto Networks to connect with partners and customers and discuss the common challenges faced by organisations today,” says Keith Carter, Vice President, Asia Pacific Channels, Palo Alto Networks.

For Carter, these include selecting methods to determine cyber threat issues that are unique to the business, and what can be done to prevent threats from reaching their desired targets.

“Palo Alto Networks will showcase its integrated, highly automated and extensible security platform that has prevention at its core,” Carter explains. “We will also introduce our improved NextWave Channel Partner Program to our Australian partners.”

Carter says Palo Alto Networks is looking to continue to build its business in Australia, with the assistance of partners such as Westcon-Comstor, with the security vendor recently updating its NextWave Channel Partner Program.

“The updates to the program focus on three key areas: new differentiation and specialisations allowing partners to scale and strengthen their expertise in our technology; new profitability initiatives to achieve higher deal closure rates and reduce the cost of doing business; and new loyalty features which make it easier to invest in and grow with Palo Alto Networks,” Carter explains.

Through this program, Carter says Palo Alto Networks is aiming to enable local partners to become next-generation security innovators.

“This will help them create deeper relationships with their customers and increase their attached services, resulting in improved profitability,” he adds.

“We are simplifying the way we interact with and support partners, helping them build sustainable, breach prevention-focused security practices.”

X-IO Technologies

Storage specialist vendor X-IO Technologies, a recent addition to the Westcon-Comstor portfolio, will be showcasing the business value of its iglu enterprise storage systems and ISE modular, scale-out storage systems, as well as its eXcellence Partner Program.

“The key to success for X-IO Technologies in 2016 is building and enabling a strong channel partner team,” says Ellen Rome, VP of Marketing, X-IO Technologies.

“X-IO Technologies is committed to achieving 100 percent of sales through the channel and will focus on building relationships, providing training support, and using market development funds to support partners’ marketing campaigns and events.

“We have a unique architecture that ensures our solutions offer performance without compromising on availability, simplicity, or affordability.

“We work hard to ensure that our channel can carry this message forward, and are committed to ensuring that partners are able to create great margin while delivering the highest degree of satisfaction to their customers.”

Rome says X-IO’s eXcellence Partner program is based on the company’s commitment to achieve 100 percent of sales through the channel.

“The eXcellence Partner Program protects not only sales opportunities, but also sales and marketing efforts,” she adds. “Our unique account and deal registration allows partners to protect not only opportunities, but also their marketing efforts early in the sales cycle.”

Rome says the vendor has simplified its program in recent years, built around the need to provide a “street level pricing model” alongside reduced levels of tiering.

“We strive to deliver the best margins, even in very competitive situations,” she adds. “At X-IO, we strive to be better by design at everything we do. We will deliver all of the infrastructure to support our business partners to the highest possible level.”

F5 Networks

F5 Networks will showcasing at Westcon Imagine in Australia a two-fold proposition - how to move app workloads to the cloud, and then how to defend that new app perimeter once they arrive.

“Essentially we will be highlighting how an app-centric strategy helps organisations maintain control over applications in the cloud,” says Rod Thorne, Regional Sales Manager - Australia and New Zealand Commercial and Partners, F5 Networks.

“We want them to understand that by extending the same availability, performance, and security services across environments—on-premises, public cloud, private cloud, or a mix (hybrid)—organisations can be confident their apps will provide the same user experience wherever they’re deployed as the same policies that govern applications in the data centre can be applied in the cloud.”

In Australia, Thorne says F5’s partners have a key role to play in educating organisations about the way they can architect apps to take advantage of the hybrid cloud opportunity.

“From line of business managers to the CIO, F5 technology has a critical role to play, and channel partners can profit from driving that new conversation,” Thorne adds.

“Security, at the application layer, is also essential in removing business risk when increasing migration to public and private cloud, and partners have the opportunity to acquire new skills from F5 that will make this transition profitable for them both from customer retention and service revenues.”


Polycom’s recent Workplace of the Future survey revealed that while four in five trans-Tasman businesses experience sub-optimal knowledge transfer, 80 percent believe that the right collaboration tools can transform workplace environments.

Such research will provide the foundations for Polycom’s collaboration stream session at Imagine 2016, where the unified communications provider will highlight the importance of workflow integration and the role of channel partners during the process.

“We know that customers want to understand how they can be more effective at deploying 21st century collaboration technologies," says Mark Braxton, Channels Director of Australia and New Zealand, Polycom.

“This means delivering integration that preserves their natural workflow experience – the number one factor driving workplace adoption.

“During Imagine 2016, we will demonstrate a Polycom integrated collaboration, including in Microsoft environments, looking at best practice for Workspaces, Workflows and User Experience.”

Braxton says the Polycom’s Australian channel strategy is aligned to key areas of growth, focusing on video, IP telephony, video content management, Microsoft and cloud.

“Our channel in Australia is well prepared to capitalise on our significant growth opportunity - Workplace of the Future,” Braxton adds.

“Polycom partners have deep experience in delivering collaboration solutions across a diverse range of customers and industries.”

Going forward, Braxton says the challenge for Polycom partners is to embrace the consultative approach style of working with customers.

“This means working closely with customers looking to improve their organisation’s workflow, experience and workspace,” he adds. “Right now, Australian business are taking a hard look at what steps they will need to take in order to transform their workplace, enabling them to work smarter and improve their competitive edge in our increasingly connected marketplace.”


During Westcon Imagine 2016, Nokia will be showcasing its Passive Optical LAN (POL) - a solution that's disrupting the Ethernet LAN market, bringing fibre to the desktop.

"Passive optical LAN is disrupting the Ethernet LAN market with a product that brings fibre to the desktop,” says Stuart Hendry, Enterprise and Public Sector, Head of Sales Asia Pacific and Japan, Nokia.

“It’s a faster, greener, future-proof and more cost effective alternative than traditional LAN switching solutions.”

As Hendry explains, in Australia Nokia’s portfolio delivers differentiated, telecom-grade networking solutions to address enterprise customer’s biggest IT challenges.

"We’re partnering with Westcon for distribution as well as pre and post sales services: from initial scoping through to installation and maintenance to allow end customers and resellers to purchase from day one,” Hendry adds.

SMART Technologies

Best known worldwide as the developer of the Smart Board interactive whiteboard, SMART technologies will be showcasing its new Kapp range at Imagine 2016.

“Writing on your KappiQ whiteboard with digital pens is as easy as writing paper,” says Peter McAlpine, Country Manager of Australia and New Zealand, SMART Technologies.

“Anyone you invite can see and contribute to everything on the board using their devices. KappiQ fits all sorts of spaces, you can show presentations, videos and anything else you can display on your laptop on your KappiQ in 4K resolution.

“As well as this you can share your notes as you go with up to 250 people worldwide and have them contribute back to the white boarding session.

“It’s as simple as Touch. Write. Swipe. You simply control KappiQ with your hands fingers and pens, everything is easy intuitive and time saving.”

In both Australia, and across the world, McAlpine says the whiteboard and interactive space has changed dramatically during the past few years, creating opportunities for channel partners to capitalise.

“Kapp products provide real time capture and collaboration at the board from anywhere at any time,” he adds.

“A huge opportunity for channel partners to inspire their customers with technology which will change the way meetings occur.”

To register for Westcon-Comstor Imagine 2016 in Sydney or Melbourne, please click here.

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