Westcon opens value- add door to 3Com

Like it or not, the globalisation of Australia's distribution market is in full swing with US-based distributor Westcon the latest global player to leave its stamp on the local market.

Last week Westcon signed a limited, but potentially far-reaching, agreement with networking vendor 3Com to distribute its Total Control remote access products as well as its range of low-end OfficeConnect, SuperStack II 3000 and Courier V.90 remote access products.

Coincidentally, Westcon already distributes a swag of products from 3Com networking rival Bay Networks in Australia. It is also looking to beef up its distribution portfolio with the likes of PictureTel and Security Dynamics.

According to Philipp Schumacher, Westcon's executive vice president for international operations, Westcon's Bay sales grew 35 per cent last year - which was "very much in line with expectations".However, Westcon is far more bullish about the prospects for 3Com sales, which could be in the vicinity of $50 million this fiscal year, Schumacher said.

For Gerhard Rumpff, 3Com's managing director, Australia and New Zealand, Westcon's value-added attraction will be crucial in extending 3Com's branding into the profitable carrier and ISP access markets. Westcon, however, will first target the mid-tier Windows NT solution space.

"The feeling in the market is that the value-added distribution proposition is not dead," Rumpff claimed.

He said 3Com's existing partnership with "time and place" distributor Tech Pacific was rock-solid. Additionally, he said there is still plenty of room for VARs who can sell network solutions: "We are never more in need of resellers with skillsets that can address the specialist carrier and ISP markets."

Westcon's Schumacher agreed, saying quality of service is the customer's number one priority.