IN THE HOT SEAT: Symbol sings a tune in mobility market

IN THE HOT SEAT: Symbol sings a tune in mobility market

Vince Chiappazzo, who wears Symbol's director of channels and marketing hat, chose a career in IT over his two other loves - acting (singing and dancing his heart out in musicals) and psychology.

Looking back, affable Chiappazzo, who joined the enterprise mobility provider in March, said he chose the sensible career option.

As Symbol's lead channel man, he wants to turn up the volume on wireless LAN, RFID, mobile computing and data capture technologies, and plans to develop a vertical market and application-coverage approach with the help of the company's chorus of partners.

Did you always have an interest in IT?
I definitely had an interest in electronics and engineering. But I had other options such as going into either acting or into psychology. I chose engineering. On the acting side, I did musical theatre in high school. It sounds really corny, but I had roles in American type musicals such as Bye Bye Birdie and The Boyfriend.

What's your past work experience?
In 1990, I was a systems engineer with Compaq, and they kindly offered me a major account manager selling role. The transition was an interesting proposition and unusual at that time. I enjoyed being out with customers and that's probably why they made the suggestion. I've been in sales and marketing ever since. I also worked at Microsoft, as an account manager in the enterprise space, and at Cisco as regional sales manager for Telstra.

What does your past IT experience bring to your role at Symbol?
Over the years, the technical background has stood me in good stead. I've never really been a propeller head in the sense that I never got into the technology extremely deeply. But it does give me the ability to have both a business conversation and a technology discussion and be able to explain the techie aspects in layman's terms.

What are your top channel plans for the rest of the year and into next year?
I'm interacting with partners and looking at the way we are focused internally from a vertical and territory perspective, which means getting the internal discipline and structure in place. We want to make sure we have vertical market coverage with our channel and an appropriate solution coverage. With RFID, for example, we have to make sure we have a channel that is equipped and certified to be able to deploy and integrate our solutions.

I am also focused on our new partner select program. It was rolled out globally a year-and-a-half ago, but in Australia we didn't have a dedicated channel focus at that point, so it was rolled out here in March when I joined.

What does the program entail?
It provides the normal things such as accreditation, investment and incentives. But the key aspect of the program is a continuum for a range of partners, giving them flexibility. You have the traditional reseller, the integrator who installs the hardware, and partners with a blended model who supply the hardware and software side. For example, a warehouse picking applications on our mobile computer. We also have the pure ISVs. The ISV portion is new for us. We need to continue to recruit these partners since our technology is very much an application-based sell.

What markets are ideally suited to Symbol's technology?
Symbol offers products in several key categories including wireless LAN, RFID, mobile computing and data capture. These types of technologies are suited to verticals including retail, transport and logistics, manufacturing, health, all areas of government, energy and mining, and utilities.

What types of technologies can resellers pitch to customers?
With a view to helping companies capture, manage and move, some of the available technologies include barcode scanning, mobile computers that have integrated scanners and built-in applications, as well as RFID solutions, and wireless LAN solutions such as wireless LAN switches and access points. We also offer a mobility services platform, which is a combination of hardware and software that allows users to manage a myriad of mobile devices in the organisation.

What are the top trends playing out in the wireless space? We are hearing a lot about RFID - Is this the new hot technology in town?
The supply chain continues to be a hot market as organisations need help containing costs and driving efficiency in the business. RFID is certainly a key part of the market, but it is still new and there's lots of hype about it. In many cases, it is justified hype, but we are not out there promoting just that. We see it as an extension of data capture. RFID is another tool at our disposal in conjunction with barcoding and mobile computing technology that helps solve a business problem.

Given the ultra-competitiveness nature of the wireless switch space, and Cisco's recent buying spree in this market, what is the company's battle plans to stay ahead of the roaring crowd?
We're not worried. On a global basis, we still lead in the thin client and switch wireless architecture even with Cisco's acquisition of Airespace. Obviously, many vendors out there have good solutions. The difference with us is we offer an overall enterprise mobility strategy. We tend to not approach it by simply doing a box drop of wireless LAN and access points. We link it to what an organisation is trying to do from an enterprise mobility perspective whether it be supply chain or in healthcare.

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