The new deal stems from the relationship forged by the two companies in the US.
“This will be a part of a growing global relationship between ourselves and Palo Alto,” Westcon managing director, Leigh Howard, said in a statement.
Security, convergence, networking and storage are the four focus technologies of the distributor and it was seeking to strengthen the portfolios of each category, Howard told ARN. The partnership was also driven by reseller demand.
“We have a lot of preferred agreements with integrators and resellers across Australia and they come to us quite often to see if they can source products from us,” Howard said. “There has been a ground swirl of interest in Palo Alto as a technology.”
Palo Alto’s new range will be aimed at a small number of Westcon’s focus partners. According to Howard, Westcon’s decision to not target its broader reseller base was aligned with Palo Alto’s strategy.
“The vendor wants to target and focus on a small number of key partners that can really drive growth for them,” Howard said. Palo Alto said it was hunting for two Australian distributors after the appointment of David Thrum as country manager one year ago.
At the time, the vendor’s CEO, Lane Bess, said it was looking for partners with experienced in selling firewall products and could provide value-added services. Networking vendor, Lan 1, was the first Australian distributor to be recruited in April last year.
Lan 1 managing director, Daniel Lee, said overlaps between the company and Westcon’s targeted market segments were inevitable but also claimed the positives of the new distribution deal outweighed the negatives.
Westcon’s presence would serve to highlight his company’s experience and resources in supporting Palo Alto, he said. Lan 1 also had a one-year head start in distributing the vendor’s range as well as certified engineering and training staff.
“We are able to do 24/7 support with engineers on standby and that is an important part of value-added services,” Lee said. “With Westcon on-board, Palo Alto will have more coverage but could potentially pick up all the resellers that require training and around-the-clock support.”
Lee was unfazed by Westcon’s wider range of products and global presence.
“Localisation and expertise is what people like to see and it is an important differentiator,” he said. “Westcon will try to catch up but we will continue and differentiate ourselves because Palo Alto is an enterprise product and we don’t have any pressure from the likes of Cisco or Checkpoint.”
Palo Alto has assured Lan 1 that Westcon’s role is to bring in incremental business and not to cannibalise existing market share, Lee added.