Westan gets into e-learning

Westan gets into e-learning

Looks to become regional e-learning infrastructure provider as it branches out of IT distribution

Victoria-based distributor, Westan, is looking to take e-learning solutions to the Asia-Pacific region in an effort to branch out of its heritage IT distribution business.

The company recently appointed Soon Teh as CEO to head up the expansion plans. Teh has spent several years on the board of systems integrator, Synergy Plus, alongside Westan executive chairman, Victor Aghtan. He has also worked as a consultant for satellite broadcaster, WorldSpace, as well as Pinnacle Systems and Korea Telecom.

Aghtan said Teh was tasked with helping the company broaden out to new market and technology areas.

"In our legacy business we're looking more at the unified communications and CE segments. We're still active in IT and it's still a big chunk of our business, but we're trying to focus away from box moving, which is such a tough business," he said.

The first new business initiative will be based around Westan's UC and networking products to provide e-learning infrastructure, Teh said. The company will initially target the Korean market and is working with a large Korean company in the telecoms space.

Teh said he would announce the partnership shortly.

"We're developing the infrastructure to deliver English training," he said. "We'll deliver this through different mediums. We distribute products such as LifeSize videoconferencing and servers - these are things we can put together to add value to customers.

"The other way to deliver e-learning is through the Web and Web conferencing software."

Teh codenamed Westan's new business initiative "Clive" - Continuous Learning In Virtualised Environments.

He said the investment was a long-term one but said it would leverage its existing skills base in the unified messaging and telco areas to build out the e-learning opportunity. Westan is hoping to have a trial up and running in the next month.

"What we are trying to do is build a pipeline," Teh said. "We are talking to a number of training providers in Australia and East Asia about delivering their content to users in Korea. We are keen to work with commercial and technology partners. We selected Korea because of its excellent broadband infrastructure and because we have partners there familiar with Internet technologies."

Down the track, another complementary area of opportunity would be corporate training, Teh said.

Meanwhile, Westan's legacy IT distribution business will continue to be managed by sales director, Kamil Aghtan. IT distribution, excluding unified communications products, accounts for just under 40 per cent of Westan's total revenues.

Executive chairman, Victor Aghtan, will continue to head up Westan but increasingly step back from day-to-day business.

Westan has spent more than 12 months building up its UC strategy and was appointed a distributor for IP telephony vendor, ShoreTel, last July. It also acquired the local arm of Swedish IP telephony vendor, Doro, in May last year.

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