As president of Benchmark Corp., Luc Villeneuve leads a customer-first, value-added Canadian retailer offering fully integrated multi-vendor software solutions to the most respected brands in Canada. Benchmark specializes in transforming client infrastructures with innovative multi-cloud solutions and managed services that reduce the costs of acquisition and integration. With over 25 years of executive sales and management experience, Luc has built a reputation for turning businesses around by creating winning teams and collaborating with the partner ecosystem to solve the critical business challenges blocking success. CDN recently had the opportunity to speak with Villeneuve about his career and the channel.
CDN: What does your current position entail?
Villeneuve: As President of Benchmark, it is my job to put vision and strategy together. I lead the way into executive relationships across many industries. In addition to that, I am responsible for expanding Benchmark across Canada, and for mentoring our direct report to exceed performance.
Talk about your career path – what led you to where you are right now?
Villeneuve: After 35 years in the IT industry – working for the last 20 of those for OEMs – I have decided to go back to the channel, to drive growth in an industry that needs the channel to provide more value to end users and to our key partners. This channel transformation is exciting. I’m very passionate about bringing the “V” (value) in VAR back at the heart of our mission.
What do you see as the biggest cloud challenges and trends out there right now?
Villeneuve: I see the biggest challenge right now around migrating applications – hundreds of applications – in a secure way into the cloud. At Benchmark we have best practices on how to get that done for clients.
Moving forward, I see hybrid cloud with 100 per cent availability being the biggest trend.
What advice would you have for young up-and-comers in the channel?
Villeneuve: I would advise anyone coming up through the ranks right now to make sure their relationships with end users are built on trust and integrity. In this business, doing so gives you longevity. For long-term success, I’d say working with manufacturers and creating additional pipeline and value is key.
What can/should be done to ensure the Canadian (and North American) channel ecosystems continue to thrive?
Villeneuve: We need to bring the “V” back to “VAR.” It can’t be about fulfilling business but adding no great value. This model cannot survive – at the end of the day, no value means no margin.