5 for 15: Jason Coleman, Panasonic Australia director – business systems group

5 for 15: Jason Coleman, Panasonic Australia director – business systems group

The keys to 2015 from industry leaders

Panasonic, director of business systems group, Jason Coleman.

Panasonic, director of business systems group, Jason Coleman.

1. Key channel plays for 2015?

The needs of modern organisations are constantly evolving as the focus moves to BYOD, Internet of Things, mobility, etc. Panasonic’s approach to these needs is to start from the business goal and provide the technology to achieve it, rather than the other way around. We work with our partners to build a broad range of integrated business technology solutions, which are tailored to our customers. Only by incorporating this strategy into our work every day can we deliver a high quality of service to customers, strengthen our relationships and create new opportunities for our network. Over the last 12 months we’ve used this partnership approach to move into new vertical markets and we expect this to continue in 2015. We see potential in areas such as transport, warehousing and logistics, mining and resources, retail, and education.

We will look at opportunities across all of our product segments including rugged and semi rugged computers and tablets, professional broadcast, projectors and flat panel displays, security solutions and unified communications.

2. Key technology for 2015?

Globally, Panasonic is spending approximately $5 billion annually on research and development to ensure we’re providing technology solutions that work harder for our customers. Many of our products are part of mission-critical business operations and provide reliability and performance, delivering lower total cost of ownership and a high ROI for businesses. In 2015 we will continue to enhance and customise our technology so we can appeal to new markets and customers. For example, in Toughbook we will add to our range of rugged tablets with modelscustomised to the needs of particular verticals; while in the area of Security, we will roll out face recognition integrated into cameras. We are also appointing a specialist team to identify new products that could be suitable for our market.

Locally, we have focused strongly on promoting our ability to collaborate with our business partners to integrate our solutions into the enterprise and support the entire roll-out for the customer. This has seen us called upon for more pilots and end-user trials, with successful results, and we expect this to continue.

3. Key message to the channel for 2015?

Customers in vertical industries each have a unique set of business needs. Panasonic works with a partner ecosystem made up of integrators, resellers, distributors and third-party software and hardware providers to ensure customers are equipped with a customised technology solution to meet those needs. We have a clear and focused channel strategy that is centred on building strong relationships with partners. Our main message to channel partners is to participate and collaborate with us in understanding the customer better to offer solutions that are customised to meet those specific needs. Now is not the time for ‘one size fits all’ but for getting involved in creating that perfect fit. We are rolling out new channel partner programs this year to work more collaboratively in delivering these solutions.

4. Key warning to the channel for 2015?

The business environment today has become very complex, organisations are looking at solutions that can help them navigate through this complexity in a more effective and efficient way. Customers are now looking to partner with providers that understand their business objectives and challenges rather than just pushing a specific product. This makes it important for the channel to focus on being total solution providers.

5. Key to Panasonic Australia for 2015?

Panasonic is constantly innovating to find new ways of getting closer to its customers and will continue to do so in 2015. We are investing in growth - increasing and spreading our sales force resources; building a dedicated sales operations team focused on streamlining post sales service for the customer; investing in technical pre-sales engineers to assist in building customer solutions; and increasing support for our product managers so they can spend more time in the market getting close to our customers – for example feeding back product enhancement requests to our global R&D team. We are working more closely in planning with our distributors and dealers. Not just ‘selling in’ but addressing market demand to create a ‘pull’ and not simply pushing a product. This consultative approach is seeing us become more involved in pilots and end-user trials, and we expect this to continue.

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