3Com's Australia/NZ managing director Archie Wilson has resigned from his post at the network hardware vendor after just 16 months in the job.
Wilson told ARN he leaves 3Com on amicable terms. He will immediately take up a new role as vice president, Asia-Pacific, for a yet-to-be-named US-based CRM vendor.
The vendor is launching itself in Australia in the lead-up to an imminent Nasdaq float and Wilson will be working as a VP for the Asia-Pacific region, reporting directly to the organisation's CEO.
3Com's Jack Sabo will be filling in as interim MD in a caretaker capacity as the headhunters consider internal and external replacement options.
Wilson said his new employer is also a channel-savvy company using both a direct sales force and resellers to get its products to market. He also claims that after stints at Intel and 3Com, he fully recognises the value of partnering with a broad range of reseller channels.
"The key to any vendor winning in the SME space is to have a strong reseller channel," Wilson said. "Any organisation that thinks it can get to that market directly has rocks in its head. The channel is rapidly moving its focus from products to value and that is what you need.
"The CRM vendor [he is joining] is targeting the SME market and I will be looking to increase the percentage of channel revenues it generates."
Wilson cited his greatest achievement at 3Com as driving the company's revenue model to one with a 100 per cent focus on channels.
"Twelve months ago, 40 per cent of 3Com's revenues were drawn from direct relationships with customers," he said. "It is now putting 100 per cent of business through the channel."
Faced with a stumbling share price and lowered market value following the spin-off of the promising and expanding Palm handheld division, 3Com's global challenge remains in increasing competition and strengthening rivals. With the Australian dollar continuing to weaken, times are only getting tougher for the local subsidiaries of US-based companies.
Wilson said the biggest problem he sees for the company is "demand exceeding supply". "We have to ramp up manufacturing to meet the challenge."
According to Wilson, the vendor's greatest challenge in the coming months in this region will be dealing with currency volatility -- a situation he only sees as getting worse in light of the emerging international crisis in the Middle East.
"Whenever there is a world crisis, people go into a panic and all their buying habits are upset," he said, adding that this affects all global manufacturing-based companies.
In terms of local performance, Wilson evangelised about the increased market share 3Com had garnered in some corners of the networking market.
"One year ago, [3Com] was perceived as running third to Cisco and Nortel," Wilson said. "Our channel partners now see us as number one in the segments we deal in. We have taken business [off Nortel and Cisco] in voice over IP, wireless broadband and LAN switching."