Westan has bolstered its fledgling storage division with the signing of network-attached storage (NAS) vendor IEI to an exclusive distribution deal.
According to Philip Jackson, manager of Westan Storage Division, the IEI contract brings it one step closer to its dream of rallying an army of resellers to take quality data solutions to the SME masses that make up the Australian economy. He is expecting to generate in excess of $600,000 in sales over the first 12 months of the IEI deal.
Launched in August, Westan Storage Division has now assembled an impressive array of vendor partners. According to Jackson, the division is determined to help leverage resellers who are trapped in a commodity, box-shifting mentality to "move on" into a much higher-value solution set.
"Many resellers are hesitant to sell new technologies because nobody shows them how to do it," he said. "We are convinced there are thousands of resellers who would like to sell storage solutions, they just don't know how. What we are trying to do is help those guys move on."
Jackson said that users of all sizes can benefit from a storage solution that matches their specific business needs but, until now, no-one has focused on the small and medium market.
"Most vendors all focus on a top-down approach with their sales and channel strategies. They are only interested in the large accounts and the highly skilled channels that service them.
"We are not only looking for resellers that are already selling storage, but also for those who are looking to new opportunities and for an incentive to invest further. Any reseller can buy from us but we will help to develop those who want to make a commitment to selling storage."
Jackson insists selling storage solutions to small and medium businesses is "not rocket science" but it does require "a systematic approach" that addresses the business needs of individual customers.
"You have to translate the corporate goals and objectives of small businesses into technology policies," he said. "We have developed a set audit and other tools that allow us to ascertain the needs of customers.
"It is all about arming resellers with the tools they need to service the SME customers they already have relationships with. It is easy to sell [NAS solutions] if you know what you are doing.
"We recognise that both the channel partners and end users need our help in understanding where NAS fits in and we plan to take a leading role in educating the market."
Westan Storage Division has isolated several issues faced by users and resellers. It has addressed these by setting up education programs and running business breakfasts, which will be focused on "putting leads back to channel partners", Jackson said.
"We are going to help resellers understand how to turn a business need into a storage solution and create a great deal of customer goodwill at the same time."
Westan's IEI deal complements the high-end products it distributes for NEC as well the agencies it has for ADIC tape libraries, Computer Associates software solutions, Lynx tape backup, and FujiFilm data cartridges.