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Making a flying start

Making a flying start

AppSense vice-president of sales A/NZ, Sean Walsh, has relished the opportunity to grow the vendor’s local presence. He spoke to ARN about the challenges of building a start-up, centralised computing and his dreams of flying.

What was your first job?

My first job was in the family business. We come from farming stock and had a few thousand sheep and a few hundred cattle, as well as a hotel and butcher shop. At some stage or another I worked at all of these. If you think of the TV series and theatre show, Fawlty Towers, the hotel we owned was like that in many ways - my father is a very eccentric man.

How did you end up in the IT industry?

When I left university in the UK, it was at a time of slowdown in the economy and I was working in retail management, managing supermarkets. I responded to an ad in the paper and joined an IT networking company called Cabletron. I worked with them for two years before moving to Australia. I started in distribution with Express Data in Sydney and stayed there for a while before joining Citrix and subsequently AppSense.

How did you progress to where you are today?

It's the result of a series of role changes as I felt I wanted to do other things. When I started out in Australia I was a product manager for Express Data, which was OK at but I was a better sales person than a product manager so I was given the role of BDM for Express Data's Citrix platform. Then I wanted to move back to Melbourne and Citrix had a suitable position available, so I took up the role of channel manager for southern region. From there an opportunity arose with a start-up called AppSense. I've been with AppSense for about five years now.

What do you like about your current job?

We've got a relatively vibrant and strong channel with hundreds of customers and we're continuing to grow. I've been given the autonomy to build a successful business as opposed to acting as a micromanager which is what tends to happen with small operations for overseas companies.

What's the biggest achievement of your career?

It's been building AppSense to where it is - we're now recognised as a leading provider of VDI [virtual desktop infrastructure] and Citrix solutions and our customer base is growing exponentially. There's half a dozen good people working with us now, we've recently added more people and there's more people to be hired yet! We've built a lot of strong customer relationships and large reference sites. When I joined AppSense it was just a start-up - it's very rewarding to see clients who appreciate our solutions.

What are some of the challenges building a channel as a start-up as opposed to an established vendor?

Starting a channel for a new vendor is a very exciting prospect. For this journey to be successful you need to make sure the vendor has a valid solution that has been tried and tested overseas, with established customers and sales. From a local level the starting point is to sign up a relevant distributor who is the correct fit. A distribution partner will very quickly tell you if it will fly. This, combined with existing channel contacts, should mean a quick start. The key moving forward is to ensure the channel model is correct and there are ongoing services sales for our partners. This leads to increased mutual investment.


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