IN THE HOT SEAT: Building the data centre with APC

IN THE HOT SEAT: Building the data centre with APC

Paul Munten has more than 18 years experience in the IT and telecommunications industries, having held various senior management and executive positions with companies such as Mitsubishi Electric Japan, Vodafone Australia, WebCentral and Hutchison Telecoms Australia.

He has a wealth of experience from channel management through to enterprise solution sales management across a host of sectors to imprint on his new role as general manaager A/NZ at APC, and the self-proclaimed surfing junkie plans to use his expertise in growing start-up businesses as well as pushing companies to the next level in an effort to jazz up the APC channel and maintain its existing relationships.

What brought you to APC and more specifically managing the channel?

Paul Munten (PM): APC’s successful channel focus, high customer satisfaction, stability and financial strength, and fantastic staff retention all contributed to why I joined APC. All this demonstrated to me a strong company driven by a highly dedicated team focusing on customers — something I want to be a part of. My responsibilities include driving sales and ensuring the right channel management.

I see channel partners as part of the extended APC team, and they are ready to benefit from our new focus on Network Critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI). This will change the way data centres are built and how they operate in the world through APC’s NCPI Solution, InfraStuXure. It is a data centre/server room architecture providing reliable power and cooling in a rack-based environment with pro­active management. InfraStuXure has already been implemented in many Australian companies such as Flight Centre, Australian Tourist Commission, CSIRO, Tenix Defence, Toyota and many more.

What changes have you implemented, or do you plan to implement, as channel manager?

PM: As GM, I have decided to consolidate our distributors in order to focus on the best performers. APC reviewed its distribution model within Australia in order to focus on specific market segments and achieve the set goals. Our criteria for choosing the appropriate partners was based on their strategy and vision which best aligned to achieve our company goals and vision.

I’m also actively working on channel training programs, incentive programs and Web-based tools which will help the channel perform while selling APC product.

Are you happy with your current distributor and reseller lineup? Are you searching for new partners or trying to develop the ones you have?

PM: We are very happy. We have a strong partnership with our distributors and are working in the same direction for the benefit of the resellers. Our channel strategy is focusing on helping our resellers to grow rather than selecting new channel partners. It is the reason why we have a strong channel program including trainings and Web tools.

What are your business objectives for 2004/2005?

PM: Primarily, I want to maintain our excellent results in selling our solutions for desktops through to data centres within the channel. APC has outperformed the IT market over the last few years — I aim to achieve that again this year.

I am also working on ensuring APC is recognised for designing, building and operating data centres through helping the channel and especially VARs and system integrators to sell InfraStuXure. We already have seven InfraStruXure Certified Partners (Allied, ASI, BCA IT, Computercorp, Dimension Data, Netforce, and Technology Trading House) and are looking forward to growing the list this year.

What have been some major milestones in your career?

PM: I was awarded The Here for Life Award in 2001, a big highlight for me. The award was for the Corporate Extreme Challenge — riding a push bike across the Simpson Desert, and being part of a team fund raiser. We raised $1 million for the Kids Youth Suicide Prevention in Australia. I’m a strong believer that kids are our future so we need to look after them.

What are some of the most valuable lessons you’ve learned in your career?

PM: Business drivers are around people, and with that in mind, it is people that make successful business.

I’ve learned to rely on and trust people (my family, friends and my team). I can’t be an expert in everything, but I know someone in the team is. I can obtain reliable and strategic information from that person, ensuring the team is heading in the right direction and the right decision is made.

I believe you need to have fun while working, and to be part of a team in everything you do. I enjoy working with people that are positive and optimistic, with a ‘can-do’ attitude and show a lot of enthusiasm in new ideas. Those people are the winners, the ones that constantly evolve and make their company evolve, the kind of people I’ve met in APC.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

PM: I would have to say the company culture and the people. Nothing is ever too hard, and that is one of the most fantastic things about APC. I also enjoy developing customer focused solutions that answer real needs. I take pleasure in working with partners that share the same vision and have a desire to go further.

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