Tech Pacific is shoring up its networking business in the wake of Cisco’s departure from its vendor portfolio. The distributor has folded its Network Assist team back into its Enterprise Technology Group (ETG) and thrown its full weight behind remaining vendor partners, particularly 3Com.
Tech Pac is shifting its previously Cisco-focused staff and resources to offering Cisco alternatives, in particular a new line that 3Com calls Cisco compatible products, fruit of a joint venture with Chinese vendor, Huawei. Speaking about the new 3Com joint venture, Tech Pac managing director, Kerry Baillie, last week made it clear that former partner Cisco was now firmly in Tech Pac’s sights as a rival.
“The time is right to level the playing field against Cisco and their chosen few,” Baillie said.
He then admitted it would be a tough match.
Still smarting from being dumped by Cisco, Baillie said, “It is ironic that we had not proceeded with our earlier Huawei discussions out of loyalty to Cisco.”
3Com South Asia president, Stanimira Koleva, said the timing of Cisco dropping Tech Pac had been excellent, as it had left a revenue gap in the distributor’s balance sheet that 3Com was keen to fill.
Tech Pac’s focus on the SOHO and small business market also made it an attractive prospect for 3Com, she said. Koleva expected the distributor would be 3Com’s supplier into the mid-market.
The tightening of relations between the companies in Australia had been instigated by the Singapore-based CEO of Tech Pacific Holdings, Shailendra Gupta, she said.
While Tech Pac had been doing about 15 per cent of 3Com’s Australian business, Koleva predicted it would grow to 30-40 per cent during the next six to nine months.
Head of Tech Pac’s ETG, Stuart Ellis, said the folding of the Network Assist division, along with Storage Assist, into the ETG would allow the distributor to take a more focussed approach to high-end networking and storage.
3Com and HP would now be the networking focus for Tech Pac, Ellis said.
He claimed the switch from Cisco to 3Com wasn’t a difficult transition.
“The higher end system is something we’ve done previously, so we still have the intellectual property in our staff," Ellis said. "We’re getting up to speed very quickly.”
The attempt to take on Cisco would need support from 3Com in the way of education and support, Baillie said.
“We need 3Com to provide education at the general management level to show that there is a bona fide and more cost effective alternative to Cisco," he said. "It is also essential that 3Com, assisted by Tech Pacific, ramps up its warranty and support structure for our channel partners."
Tech Pac also needed to address the poaching of its Cisco-specialist staff by rival distributor Lan Systems, Baillie said.
For more on this story, see this week's issue of ARN.