When channel veterans, Scott Frew and Nick Verykios, took over Firewall Systems four years ago, the distributor was a technically capable but small-scale player in the security space. Fast forward to today and Firewall is a thriving business sitting within the duo’s Distribution Central model.
Distribution Central marketing director, Nick Verykios, said one of the key factors to Firewall Systems’ success, and the subsequent expansion of its business into separate networking (NetWorld Systems), storage (SAN Systems) and Annuity Systems units, was its specialist mind-set.
Verykios said that since creating Distribution Central 18 months ago, it had lifted annual revenue from $20 million to $54 million and predicted its combined units would deliver at least $110 million in the next year.
While many distributors are developing specialist practices within their broader businesses, Verykios insisted that approach was very different to what a specialist distributor provides. He argued what broader players were doing was delivering some additional value augmented within a bigger picture and used Ingram Micro’s Solutions Group as an example.
Nevertheless, when asked how far Firewall Systems can go before it loses the specialist moniker, Verykios pointed out that at an operational level, Distribution Central was broad.
“But Distribution Central doesn’t trade with the market – our go-to market strategy is specialist,” he said. “It’s not so much the size of the business that determines it – you can be a $12 million or $200 million business – that’s all that you do though, so you’re a specialist. The specialisation comes into your expertise.
“We’re even starting to look now at whether there’s a potential division even in the Firewall business unit and turn that into two – there is security and then high availability or disaster recovery.”
Verykios said each of its business units offered different types of specialist services depending on the maturity of the market they operated in.
“For example, in Firewall Systems we started with providing advanced hardware replacement. As that becomes a commodity and vendors get bigger, they do that themselves and it’s not so important. But in networking it’s very important right now,” he said.
Verykios claimed Distribution Central’s policy of offering resellers access to multiple sales and technical representatives from its different business units had also proved popular and was indicative of the value a specialist practice provides.