Hardware distributor, Westan, has set up a new business communications division as it continues to move away from its whitebox heritage.
It has appointed former NEC staffer, Patrick Micallef, to head up the new unit. He spent the past two years working on NEC's SIP-based VoIP offering for wholesalers. His resume also includes product management stints with Siemens 3G locally and in Germany.
The business communications team, which will be based out of Westan's Melbourne head office, is part of a long-term plan to expand its product offerings. Over the past couple of years, the distributor has also brought on CE, storage and networking lines.
"Westan is going through a division process, which will see units responsible for their own profit and loss," Micallef said. "Our unit is focused on delivering communications solutions including the products, services and support." It was also formed in response to customer requests for aggregated business communications solutions.
The team consists of four staff offering pre-sales and engineering support. Existing vendors moved across include IP networking company, Polycom, and IP platform provider, Interactive Intelligence. Micallef said it was in discussions with several new suppliers and hoped to make announcements shortly. "We're looking at entry-level IP telephony solutions, such as VoIP decks and handsets, through to IP-PBX and call centre products," he said. "We want to sell solutions for SMEs and hope to eventually get into corporate. "We're gearing up to enter a different space - that being telecoms, business users and more IP-based products. This new unit gives us the ability to access more of the value-added channel where there is technology expertise, consulting and training, and step away from the traditional box-moving model."
Micallef said it was now looking to attract more integration partners. Existing customers include call centre services provider, CallTime.
Although traditional PC product sales still represented the majority of its business, Westan managing director, Victor Aghtan, said he was pleased with its transition into complementary categories.
"Being a box mover you're up against Ingram Micro and Synnex and I don't think Westan should go there. We tried to go there years ago and it didn't work," he said.
Westan has recently relocated its NSW office to smaller premises in Silverwater. Aghtan said the move reflected its shift away from larger product lines.
He said the distributor had also lost some staff over time, but would make ongoing invests in business development and sales managers to drive new product take-up.