F5 distribution appointment draws criticism

F5 distribution appointment draws criticism

F5 Networks’ decision to appoint a second local distributor has been met with criticism from its existing supplier, Firewall Systems.

The vendor has extended its partnership with NZ-based Observatory Crest to Australia, to sit alongside Firewall Systems. While a small amount of overlap between the two distributors was expected, Observatory Crest’s niche focus would provide some healthy competition in the market, F5 chief operating officer, John Rodriguez, said.

But Firewall Systems marketing director, Nick Verykios, questioned Observatory Crest’s place in the Australian market, and claimed the appointment created unhealthy competition.

“All it has done has created price competition with our accounts,” Verykios said. “Non-productive competition like this means there’s less money to be made by everyone and stifles growth.

“We’ve had to work hard to do things two or three times, where once we’d need to do it one – it has affected out productivity with F5.”

The two distributors have yet to find a happy balance in NZ, Verykios said, but he hoped the local situation would settle down soon.

“When you add a lot of value to a product set you have to pay for it,” he said. “F5 has assured us that its investment in collective go-to-market strategies will continue.”

The distribution change follows F5’s appointment of Kurt Hansen as managing director of its 20-strong Australian team. He replaces Chris Poulos. Hansen said the vendor’s goal was to continue its penetration into telco and finance verticals.

“There are a lot of ISPs that we haven’t even talked to yet, and there is more we can do with current customers, such as Telstra,” Hansen said. “While the finance vertical has been hit by the crisis, it’s still making investments in this area, where we have traditionally been strong.”

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