Specialised partners are seizing the moment to meet rising demand for Cisco technologies across Australia, leveraging distribution expertise to deploy enterprise-grade networking, cloud and security solutions.
Following 12 months of sizeable economic and societal disruption, RIoT Solutions, Tekoi Consulting and Insite Communications are pressing ahead with end-user roll-outs following an ecosystem alliance with Westcon-Comstor and Cisco.
Such sync-ups -- highlighting the power of the end-to-end channel network -- come in response to the widespread instigation of outsourcing projects designed to overcome rising challenges in relation to network connectivity, bandwidth and security.
According to EDGE Research -- commissioned by ARN and Reseller News in partnership with Tech Research Asia -- customers have prioritised technology modernisation and keeping current IT environments running during the past 12 months in Australia, in addition to improving security, governance, risk and compliance capabilities.
In a nod to the specialised channel, end-users have primarily leveraged ecosystem expertise for security, cloud migration and data management skill sets at the height of the pandemic.
“Our Cisco business continues to grow year-on-year due to a high demand of customers re-architecting networks,” outlined Rob Merkwitza, managing director of RIoT Solutions.
According to Merkwitza, enterprise and corporate customers are currently going through five, seven and even 10-year refresh cycles which -- coupled with a rise in remote working -- has placed “immense pressure” on the network supporting cloud, remote access and cyber security requirements.
“We see this trend continuing, with some interesting opportunities in the critical infrastructure space where OT and IT networks need to be designed to co-exist in a secure fashion to support an increase in demand for manufacturing, retail and logistics,” Merkwitza added.
Founded in 2015, RIoT Solutions goes to market as a specialised integrator of Internet of Things (IoT) solutions across Australia, backed by strong expertise in bringing together industrial and IT networks wrapped in a managed services offering.
In April, the Brisbane-based business officially opened a state-of-the-art security operations centre (SOC) housing a full-time staff count of 15 analysts and cyber security professionals. The locally operated facility provides a range of managed security services with a specific focus on managed visibility, threat intelligence, vulnerability management, endpoint security, user awareness and incident response.
“We see Westcon-Comstor as an extension of our team,” explained Merkwitza, when acknowledging the support of distribution in servicing customer demand. “So much so that we recently launched a dedicated procurement department [ValidPro] that works hand-in-hand with the team at Comstor.
“We have been working on an enhancement project over the past few months with Comstor and our quoting tool iAsset to increase our quoting time, accuracy and overall customer experience.”
In assessing the state of the market, Nathan Georges -- owner of Tekoi Consulting -- observed that IT adoption is “consistently growing” despite notable COVID-19 challenges.
“While we are going through hype waves with new technology trends creating noise in the market, the demand for traditional IT products and services still remains,” Georges said.
The Sydney-based start-up first launched to the market in 2020, with a target customer base ranging from enterprise and government to small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) nationwide. Offerings extend from the data centre to enterprise networking, carriage and end-user computing solutions, as well as security and collaboration via a vendor portfolio consisting of Cisco, Microsoft, VMware, Lenovo, Commvault and NetApp.
“We’re seeing strong demand, however we are gravitating towards organisations and departments within companies where traditional products such as wireless access point and switches are in high demand,” Georges noted. “From these conversations stems the need for security which has lead to healthy growth across these verticals.
“Westcon-Comstor enables us to provide exceptional customer service through fast quote turn arounds, navigating the complex Cisco ecosystem and providing subject matter expertise on particular product categories such as security.”
Based in Brisbane, Insite Communications counts customers in healthcare, education and childcare -- all of which continue to experience increased demand for the full-stack of Cisco Meraki products.
“The simplicity of Meraki’s cloud managed dashboard creates a halo effect where the more Meraki you deploy, the easier it is to manage,” explained Pete Schmidt, managing director of Insite Communications. “Safety and security are increasingly important for these industries when travel is challenging.
“Snap lockdowns and aged care create the biggest disruption as we plan and replan deployments and it is slowing some projects down. We are doing some cleaver things with Cisco and analytics, and this is improving safety and asset management which is a big plus for our focus customers.”
With more than 11 years market experience, Insite Communications has built up a market-leading portfolio of solutions spanning data networks, cloud managed Wi-Fi, IP telephony and technical services. In a direct reference to the role of distribution in supporting end-user deployments and delivery, Schmidt acknowledged the importance of focusing on the smaller details to ensure projects run successfully.
“We have found great success in making projects easy by integrating Westcon-Comstor's 3PL offering so that global logistics don’t result in volumes of equipment clogging up customer workspace for weeks or arriving late to the job,” Schmidt added. “This value-add means we can get on with the next big thing and not get distracted with unplanned roadblocks.”
As reported by ARN, Cisco is moving into the execution phase of a multi-year channel evolution amid plans to position partners for accelerated growth aligned to four strategic pillars across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).
Built by the ecosystem and spearheaded by COVID-19, the technology giant is heightening focus on the core areas of SD-WAN, software, managed services and customer success. The aim? To strengthen alignment between customer and channel to drive partner revenue and profitability growth.
“Cisco has been evolving over many years but we’re now entering the execution phase,” said Luke Power, director of Partner Organisation across A/NZ at Cisco, when speaking to ARN in July. “We’re moving away from talking about technology to focusing on solutions and outcomes and to achieve that, we’re putting partners at the centre of everything we do.”
In rounding off the broader network, the role of the distribution is also expected to assume increased levels of importance in a post-pandemic Australia, leading the channel charge to facilitate new ecosystems, deliver emerging technologies and modernise billing model frameworks.
“We have experienced very strong double digit growth in FY21 with Cisco and that momentum is continuing into FY22,” noted Phil Cameron, managing director of Australia at Westcon-Comstor. “Strong growth was noticed in the small business, mid-market and public sector segments. Our market share has also increased year-to-year across Cisco’s tier-1 and tier-2 channel ecosystems.”
Speaking as director of Comstor -- which launched locally in 2015 as a specialist distributor of Cisco technologies -- John Poulter attributed such growth to strong uptake of enterprise-grade security and networking solutions during the past 12 months, with data centre offerings expected to make a “strong comeback” in FY22.
“Organisations are better protecting themselves with cyber security, better enabling hybrid workforces and new routes to market and getting ahead of the global supply constraints currently experienced across multiple industries,” Poulter explained.
“We are accelerating the hyper-growth of the channel through technical excellence and unique and differentiated programs and services. We have also grown our software mix significantly over the last few years and are well positioned to continue growing in that space.”
The achievements of RIoT Solutions, Tekoi Consulting and Insite Communications were recently recognised during an incentive program designed to accelerate Cisco partner growth via Comstor in Australia.
Under the banner of the Overnight Millionaire Campaign, 185 partners were on-boarded to the program which ran between December 2020 and July 2021, which aligned to Cisco’s financial year.
“Within the program, we had three categories based on overall Cisco business size to ensure partners were competing against partners of similar capacity,” noted Seamus Pearson, marketing manager of Australia at Westcon-Comstor. “Partners then earned points based on invoiced Cisco orders across the full Cisco stack including hardware, software, services and renewals.
“The partner at the top of their respective leaderboard entered the draw. Winning individuals had their own set of 100 envelopes, one of which contained $1,000,000, two contained $130,000 and the rest had the consolation prize of $20,000."