Bruno Pupo: NEC Regional Manager
The NEC-Mitsubishi split was one of the biggest stories from 2005 For Bruno Pupo, regional manager for NEC Display Solutions, one of the highlights of the year has been the successful move into new markets for digital signs.
“This year was a real transition year in the Canadian marketplace, where we saw really low cost products come to market and capture corporate attention in terms of price point,” he said.
He said that there has been an increase in the number of resellers that now understand there is a value to the display component, that it’s not just a commodity product.
“It is something that we’ve been able to leverage through our resellers.”
NEC Display Solutions launched a display solutions program, which lends various third-party expertise of products to resellers, giving them better ability to provide solutions for customers utilizing display technologies.
Currently, Pupo said the company is looking for vertical-focused resellers, particularly in the retail and banking segments, but also VARs serving the restaurant, food and hospitality markets.
For the coming year, Pupo revealed a new VAR select program that will target key strategic resellers across Canada. “They will get certain privileges that other resellers won’t, like special pricing, demo unit access, dedicated account representation,” he said. “We’re looking to select VARs that are an extension of our sales force in the marketplace.”
There will also be a move to shift the existing system builder program to more of an SMB program, said Pupo, allowing small and medium business focused resellers the opportunity to participate in some entry level priced products.
Along with the new partner programs, NEC Display Solutions is preparing to launch new products next year, including a series of displays targeted for enterprise called the Five Series. “It’s an excellent product for transitioning from CRT to LCD,” he said. |
Dave Frederickson: VP solution partners
HP Canada took several bold steps to ease partner business this year In an effort to rid channel partners of the administrative burden of rebates, HP Canada created the Assigned Rebate Model (ARM) program early this year.
Dave Frederickson, vice-president of the solution partners organization, said it eases doing business for VARs. “It’s been an issue for some time with partners, even impacting cash flow,” said Frederickson. The ARM program now assigns resellers rebates from a particular distributor. “Feedback has been positive and a number of partners have reallocated resources that were once used for rebate administration,” he said.
HP was rattled with major leadership changes this year, most publicly being the dismissal of CEO Carly Fiorina. Without commenting in detail, Frederickson said it hasn’t affected the overall strategy. “How we execute on a day to day basis needs to change because we’re in a rapidly changing environment with many niche competitors. We have to continue to evolve and be adaptive,” he added.
For 2006, Frederickson will focus on the evolution of predictability and collaboration with channel partners. “This year I got a lot of feedback from various sources saying ‘you need to make your environment more predictable,’ so we conducted internal training on the value of the channel, the role of the channel and rules of engagement and looked at what tools we have in place to facilitate that,” he said.
Frederickson added a fair amount of work is in store for the organization to engage with partners.
Jim Estill: Synnex Canada CEO
Last year’s top newsmaker signed a big deal with Avaya in 2005 Every year the chief executive officer of Synnex Canada makes a company list of New Year’s resolutions and distributes it to his staff.
In an interview before it was finalized Jim Estill wouldn’t reveal what will make this year’s list but said, “what the industry knows about me is that I’m a bit of a growth maniac, so we’ll always grow. I love to dominate different sectors that we go into, so you’ll see us dominating more sectors.”
Synnex has already begun to infiltrate areas such as security through its distribution agreement with Gentek Marketing Inc. earlier this year. “As a distributor we have a high focus on low overhead, that’s one of Synnex’s strengths, being the lowest overhead distribution partner. That’s a core competency,” he said.
Asked what major accomplishments were made this year, Estill points to the integration of EMJ and Synnex. “That was a major task because you had two major distributors merging into one entity, but we’ve converted, consolidated and have begun to grow very nicely again,” he said.
Synnex is also increasing its Web reach to allow resellers more online presence through the distributor. “Every reseller should consider doing more business online, not only with their customers but with their suppliers because it reduces cost, and the more you can reduce cost, the more you make. It’s smart business and it also saves time,” he said.
After Synnex bought EMJ, Estill decided to create a blog as a way of communicating with his employees. Now, he said, it not only serves as a way to facilitate his hobby of time management and self-development, but many people – including resellers – have taken interest and follow Estill’s blogs regularly. “It’s an interesting phenomenon. My life’s an open book,” he said.
Terry Walsh: Cisco Canada President
His stewardship has just started, but Walsh is keeping Cisco and its partners very profitable Australian-born Terry Walsh has been running Cisco Canada for more than a year.
In that time the company has managed to implement its IP telephony products in three major airports here. And Cisco did this by leading with channel partners.
“Our Canadian channel strategy is designed to help our channel partners build their capabilities, grow their business and boost their profitability,” he said.
The company in 2005 built on its ground-breaking Value Incentive Program (VIP) with the Opportunity Incentive Program (OIP).
To date, Canadian VIP partners are making an average of 17 per cent greater product margins and 18 per cent higher service margins than non-VIP partners.
When channel manager Steve Simmons earned a promotion, Walsh swiftly replaced him with Ross Pellizzari.
“Ross brings a tremendous amount of experience and enthusiasm to the channel team. He’s working to build Cisco’s Canadian channel team, closely align our channel team with our field sales organization and build our channel’s AT readiness.”
Other highlights include: SMB growth in the commercial market; being named Canada’s “Favorite Security Vendor” by CDN; and the rapid adoption of Integrated Services Routers.
For 2006, Walsh has already outlined company goals, including increasing partner profitable growth, improving partner readiness and enablement, making it easier to do business with Cisco and improving customer satisfaction with partners.
“This year was an extremely successful year for Cisco and our channel partners. We saw solid and balanced growth across our foundation and advanced technologies, and across our market segments (commercial, enterprise and service provider).”|
Stuart Turk: On The Go Technologies CEO
Little know On The Go Technologies flew under the radar until it bought Infinity Technologies At the start of this year not many people in the industry had heard of Stuart Turk. But as 2005 winds down he has made himself known to the Canadian IT industry with several big-name reseller acquisitions.
On The Go’s biggest partnership came with the inking of Infinity Technologies of Mississauga, Ont. That deal closed in late August and made other VARs, distributors, and IT vendors sit up and take notice of Turk.
But Infinity was just the icing on the cake because he also secured CompuQuest and Helios/Oceana, while establishing Go Motion+Design.
“I want to create an empire, but strictly in IT,” Turk said. With all these acquisitions On The Go currently is valued between $32 to $35 million.
The publicly-traded company’s strategy is to also recruit the founding fathers of the companies acquired. Frank and John Abate of Infinity are now directors of On The Go. Randal Kalpin of CompuQuest is also a director. The three, along with Turk, make up the management team.
Currently, the company has more than 1,400 customers and holds 125 product authorizations.
Turk did most of this under the radar, up until the Infinity acquisition.
He has more than 17 years of R&D experience and holds many Canadian and U.S. patents, which gives him a special talent for both technical and business.
As for the future, Turk said in an interview earlier this year that On The Go will continue to look at niches or strong vertical markets that no one goes after.
Time will ultimately tell if Turk can build his IT reselling empire, but he is off to a good start. |
Ian MacFarlane: Vice-president and GM, Canon Canada
MacFarlane launched the Pixma brand in Canada and gave HP a run for its money Ian MacFarlane has been chasing Hewlett-Packard in the market share race for a long time.
And in 2005, Canon managed to hold its own against the powerhouse printing vendor.
MacFarlane, the vice-president and general manager of the Consumer Imaging Group, Canon Canada Inc. , was instrumental in bring in the Pixma brand of printers into this market place. The company released four new all-in-one Pixma printers in 2005.
He also oversaw the launch of a new reseller initiative to expand the distribution and increase sales of its high-speed scanning solutions here.
Called the Canon Premier Reseller Program, it primarily targets information technology VARs selling its DR digital scanners.
Also at its Canon Expo 2005, the digital camera, printer and copier manufacturer confirmed the company is heading into the display market.
It has put the finishing touches on a 50-inch model that will have the Canon and Toshiba brand names.
This model will be based on surface conduction electron-emitted display (SED) and will be positioned for the high-end TV marketplace for now.
But MacFarlane was quick to point out many steps need to be made before it hits the Canadian market place.
Another significant announcement was its new ImageRunner product, which will be the first device ever with Web access function, allowing for the use of the devices as information kiosks to access and print information directly from the Internet.
Shawn Snobelen: LG Electronics Canada National Sales Manager
LG launched a high-end notebook and protected its channel for success in a short amount of time Bringing a new notebook brand to the Canadian market place is bold. Bringing in a high-end notebook, one with an expensive price tag, is really risky.
But LG Electronics Canada Inc. did all that and is currently shipping its third generation line of notebooks, all in just 14 months.
Shawn Snobelen, national sales manager, digital display and media division for LG Canada of Mississauga, Ont., has led this charge and developed a channel strategy that has worked.
The company maintained an authorized reseller program with 250 members. This enabled LG to maintain a premium price for its notebooks and the resellers in the program earned top margins because of it.
However, as the LG brand increased in popularity this strategy limited LG Canada from acquiring more customers, Snobelen said.
So it developed a wide-open channel strategy to meet the demand.
“We needed to open it up to a broader market,” Snobelen said in an interview at the time the change was announced.
“We developed a strong demand for the product with a small number of resellers. It is sort of a greenhouse effect. We needed to get a base of sales growing and now we need to broaden it up,” he said.
LG’s factory in South Korea has been able to produce more competitively priced notebooks, Snobelen added. This also helps LG Canada compete with other brands in the market. Snobelen said the benefits of this move out weigh the risks.
Edsel Shreve: Siebel Regional Manager, Canada
Siebel got caught in Oracle shopping spree of acquisitions this year While Oracle Corp. was wrapping up PeopleSoft (along with J.D. Edwards) earlier this year, Edsel Shreve, the regional manager for Siebel Canada, was focused on doing his job by driving revenue growth and ensuring customer satisfaction.
Oracle paid US$10 billion for its prize, and in doing so brought some closure to an 18-month battle that saw some crude and at times funny mud-slinging between Craig Conroy of PeopleSoft and Larry Ellison of Oracle.
Conroy ended up losing his job.
But while it brought closure to one deal, it opened up several other possibilities.
Later on in 2005 Oracle acquired retail software specialist Retek and then seemingly out of the blue, snapped up Siebel Systems.
Oracle agreed to buy Siebel for $10.66 per share. The offer is valued at approximately $5.85 billion, or $3.61 billion net of Siebel’s cash on hand of $2.24 billion.
In a single step, Oracle will become the number one CRM applications company in the world.
And now Shreve must wait until all the papers are signed and approved to see what his fate will be and that of his employees and customers in Canada.
Oracle may have spun the industry around several times this year, but Siebel Canada may have avoided the whirlwind.
The subsidiary successfully launched CRM OnDemand, Siebel Component Assembly Platform, Business Analytics 7.8, New Self Assessment Tool for Customer Blueprint, and a SIMbuilder Tool, all under Shreve’s watch. |
2005 was the year of the deal, with several high profile acquisitions, including some in Canada Say what you will about Larry Ellison, the CEO and founder of Oracle Corp., but he will go down in business history for the way he acquired PeopleSoft, with J.D. Edwards in tow, this past January.
Barely catching his breath, Ellison outmuscled SAP for Retek Inc., then, in a deal to be finalized, found some change for Siebel Systems.
The jury is out on whether Ellison sparked all the other mergers and partnerships in 2005, but for a calendar year this one was for the dealmakers.
Case in point: IBM selling its PC Divison to Lenovo of China for US$1.2 billion cash and stock. IBM’s PC division lost money in the past three years, according to a Dec. 30 filing with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission. In the first six months of 2004 alone, it lost US$139 million.
As the year moved on, Sun Microsystems inked deals with Microsoft and then Google.
Not to be outdone, Adobe Systems acquired its long-time friend and rival Macromedia.
The deal were not just down south, they also happened in a significant way in Canada.
While still to be approved, Autodesk reached an agreement with Alias Software of Toronto. Alias wasn’t Adobe’s only acquisition. It also snapped up ColorFront.
Another dealmaker was Stuart Turk of Ontario’s On The Go Technologies who acquired four resellers in 2005.
In total, these deals are worth more than US$20 billion.
And, probably more importantly, dispelled the notion that consolidation in this industry is over.