Editorial: Swings and roundabouts

Editorial: Swings and roundabouts

You don't have to be involved with the Australian IT channel for too long to realise that it isn't really as big as it first seems. And if you stick around for long enough, you start to see the same familiar faces popping up in new places at different points in the food chain - a sales manager for a reseller will end up working for a distributor in some capacity and occasionally makes the heady heights of country manager (or something similar) for a large multinational vendor.

One such familiar channel face reappeared last week when Nick Verykios announced he had bought a 14 per cent share in secu­rity distribution specialist, Firewall Systems. His new role as marketing director sees him back in partnership with long-time business associate, Scott Frew. The two were a big hit together at Lan Systems, both know all about what makes resellers tick and neither is afraid to speak his mind on any industry subject thrown their way.

Frew has been out of the local market for a few years now, having enjoyed a few years with his family in Belgium that saw him spend a lot of his time sitting on various boards. But he will no doubt have been working hard to get himself back up to speed since his return.

Verykios, on the other hand, was only away for about four months following his sudden departure from Lan Systems. People who know the man will not be surprised to see him bounce back so quickly.

Coming from a marketing background, where the game is all about achieving recognition for your company, he had become frustrated by the gagging orders that were placed on him during his two-year stint at the helm of networking specialist, Lan Systems.

It will probably take a while for the full razzle-dazzle to come back but, having met him last week to discuss his plans for Firewall Systems, there were already signs of the old sparkle returning.

As a business model, Firewall Systems is going to be a very interesting player to watch during the next couple of years. Frew has stated his intentions to grow the business quickly - already relocated its HQ to Sydney - and is one of a growing number of business brains in the IT channel that wants no part of pushing tin.

The new Firewall Systems approach in conjunction with WatchGuard is based heavily on building a service model that provides resellers with good reason to make regular visits to their customers.

These long-term maintenance contracts will give Firewall and its resellers a tight grip on customer relationships.

And the support levels offered by the distributor will help resellers that don't have a lot of security knowledge work their way into the market.

It is a new approach when compared to anything else on the market at the moment, according to Frew, and differentiation is usually a good place to start if you want to stand out from the crowd and develop a successful business. One thing is for certain, we can all expect to hear a lot more from Frew and Verykios.

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