Extreme Networks has appointed former Aerospace engineer, Simon Barnard, to the position of country manager.
Barnard opened his innings for the Ethernet infrastructure solution provider this week, joining the company from Nextgen Networks where he served as sales manager for corporate and government.
Apart from the initial focus on getting to know the business, he cited expanding the company’s channel business as a key first goal.
“For me, it’s going to be about broadening our partner coverage nationally. The focus before has been Brisbane, Sydney and a bit in Melbourne – I would like to broaden that. We do business in New Zealand as well so really it’s going to be about expanding our channels,” he said.
“I’m hiring additional people and I want to grow and make sure we’re out talking to customers nationally.”
Barnard said Extreme is strong in healthcare, education, gaming, government and mining.
“A lot of systems integrators are competing now with carriers so they are really getting squeezed on their margins with more competitors,” he said.
“Because we’re not all things to all people what we do is specialise in having partners who are very strong in certain verticals, like healthcare, and rather than have half a dozen partners there we just have one or two in healthcare which maximises their margins because they don’t compete.”
Extreme will launch its BlackDiamond 20K product in the near future and targeting it at carriers and ISPs while also kicking off an Australian version of a new partner program established recently in the Asia-Pacific region.
Despite the current economic climate which has seen a slew of technology companies announce thousands of layoffs, hiring freezes and expense cutbacks, as well as the recent filing for bankruptcy by Nortel Networks, Barnard is forecasting a strong year for Extreme in 2009.
“We’re in growth mode. Extreme has just gone past Foundry Networks [behind Cisco and Alcatel-Lucent] so we’re now number three globally for carrier Ethernet services. Asia-Pacific is certainly a growth market and we’re hiring more staff," he said, echoing the findings of ARN's Business Index which found IT industry respondents upbeat about short and long term prospects.
“I think the current economic climate is an opportunity for us because if you’re an organisation in this sort of climate you are looking to reduce costs, both OpEx and CapEx, and that’s something we’re able to do. We’ve seen the announcement from Nortel and their partners might be looking for new sources of equipment, so we see that as an opportunity,” he said.
The company also intends to double its staff complement in the coming weeks, starting with an additional sales engineer.