Every year, the CDN editorial staff sits down to discuss the events of the past year in the Canadian IT channel community, and to select CDN’s Top 25 Newsmakers of the year. It’s often a heated and passionate debate, particularly when determining the top spots, and this year was no exception.
In part two of our CDN Top 25 Newsmakers of 2010 slideshow series, meet our remaining newsmakers, and learn what put them on our list.
#14: Harry Zarek of Compugen
Harry Zarek, the long time CEO of solution provider powerhouse Compugen of Richmond Hill, Ont., keeps defying the odds year after year.
In 2009, he along with the Mayor of Richmond Hill Dave Barrow, put a silver plated shovel into a dirt field in what looked like the middle of nowhere and proclaimed that in a year’s time there would be a state of art technology centre that would be Compugen’s new home.
Not many really believed him, considering the recession and the state of construction in the greater Toronto area. But true to his word, Zarek made it happen, which has been a consistent part of his entire career.
What made the new building even more remarkable is that Compugen’s major financier pulled out at the last minute and there were several permit hold ups at the City of Richmond Hill.
Read more: #14 Newsmaker: Harry Zarek of Compugen
#15: Melissa Alvares of Softchoice
Softchoice’s Melissa Alvares is a newsmaker because of her continued green efforts with the company, which ranked as CDN‘s number one Top 100 Solution Provider for 2009.
In 2008, Softchoice launched Eco Tech Solutions, an educational resource and tool that promotes the adoption of environmentally responsible technologies and best practices. As part of this, the company also has its free Green IT Assessment tool that businesses can use to help assess their current green state.
Continuing with its green initiatives, the company launched a fully searchable green IT products listing on its Web site in 2009 so businesses can search for and compare environmentally friendly products such as laptops and printers.
“It’s about being really transparent and helping other organizations start their own green initiatives,” Alvares said.
New green initiatives in 2010 included electronic invoicing, consolidated shipping to reduce carbon footprint and a project which is still in the works to enable digital signatures, she said.
Read more: #15 Newsmaker: Melissa Alvares of Softchoice
#16: Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy of Westcon Group
Last summer, 23-year channel veteran, Lynn Smurthwaite-Murphy was promoted to senior vice-president, US and Canada for Westcon Group. Before this, she was the vice-president and general manager for Westcon Canada.
2010 also marked a milestone for the distributor’s Cisco-only focused division, Comstor, which celebrated its first year in business in Canada.
Although the distributor began selling Cisco solutions in January 2008, the company launched its Cisco business in Canada under the Comstor brand in September of 2009.
Now in its second year here, Comstor Canada had the highest amount of growth year over year compared to the other subsidiaries located around the world.
Westcon also beefed up its data centre offerings by providing more security options for partners and end-users through a partnership to deliver the entire line of products from Palo Alto Networks. The specialty distributor also launched its Express to Success program this year to help partners sell Check Point solutions.
#17: Michael Sharun of EMC
It was all about cloud computing for EMC Corp. in 2010 and Michael Sharun, managing director of EMC Canada, has been working hard to ensure EMC’s channel in Canada has the capacity and the resources to capitalize on the cloud opportunity.
EMC has been overhauling its channel program to bring some standardization to a channel community that had become complicated following several significant acquisitions in recent years. The new Velocity partner program brings all EMC partners under the same umbrella.
In Canada, while previously partners shared technical consultants with the direct sales team, now EMC has technical consultants dedicated to working with the channel exclusively.
“They work directly with the channel community to provide first-line support,” said Sharun. “We’ve also expanded the number of channel managers across Canada, and now have managers for every district – West, Central and East. We can serve our channel partners better from that perspective, more touch, and more money from EMC to support partners to enable our solutions.”
The new program and new resources are in support of what EMC is calling the next, and biggest, wave of computing: cloud computing and the private cloud. While Canada often lags behind other geographies in technology, Sharun said cloud computing is an exception because CIOs are actively involved in the discussion and are driving adoption.
Read more: #17 Newsmaker: Michael Sharun of EMC
#18: Rick Reid of Tech Data Canada
Rick Reid, the president of Tech Data Canada, had a lot to be thankful for in 2010. Not only did the distributor win several new sales opportunities, but the company also invested in the cloud.
In 2010, Tech Data Canada expanded its partnerships and its line card offerings, with the availability of BitDefender’s security software solutions. Tech Data also inked a distribution deal with McAfee to sell the entire line of products including related support and service offerings.
Not long after, Tech Data also announced it was the first distributor in the Americas to offer the entire line of Cisco’s Service Provider Video solutions portfolio.
Continuing with its distribution agreement successes, the distributor also announced it would offer Avaya’s complete portfolio of its unified communications, contact centre and data networking solutions to resellers across Canada.
Tech Data also formed a relationship with Microsoft this summer to offer BPOS (Business Productivity Online Suite) to all of its authorized resellers across the country.
Most recently, Tech Data Canada announced Paul Wilkinson as its director for the Advanced Infrastructure Solutions Division to further the company’s efforts and advancements in the cloud market space.
Read more: #18 Newsmaker: Rick Reid of Tech Data Canada
#19: Colleen Browne of ViewSonic
Colleen Browne, the director of North American sales at ViewSonic, has had a busy and eventful year with the company’s digital signage initiatives and the launch of two new tablets.
In 2010, ViewSonic introduced a new digital signage program within its Finch Club partner program. The digital signage program offers channel resources including training, Webinars and sales incentives which are designed to meet the needs of digital signage-focused partners.
In September, ViewSonic continued its push into the digital signage market with the launch of three new products, all of which are delivered thru its network of resellers: Signage Manager Express, ScheduleIt and video wall solutions.
The new offerings are designed to provide partners with a “one-stop solution shop” so they can purchase a total solution from one vendor instead of many, therefore making it easier for the partner and end-user, Browne said.
Most recently, the company expanded its efforts into the mobile device space by announcing it would offer two tablets, ViewPad 7 and ViewPad 10. The tablets are designed to be used by consumers and business users who wish to travel, do work and stay connected.
Read more: #19 Newsmaker: Colleen Browne of ViewSonic
#20: Gavin Garbutt of N-Able Technologies
Gavin Garbutt, the CEO of managed services provider N-Able Technologies of Ottawa, was known this year as the 100 per cent man.
At N-Able’s conference this past summer, Garbutt said the company’s N-central monitoring dashboard is the “100 per cent IT coverage,” plan.
He also demanded that his business partners in the channel grow their managed customer base by 100 per cent in one year. He said he believes it’s totally doable if they have a managed plan.
There are several examples of Garbutt’s plan working in the market place so far. For example, CalTech increased from 17 to 84 managed customers by focusing on the banking vertical, Novtis grew from 60 to 370 customers, and AE Technology group from 29 to 102 managed customers.
Garbutt followed up that performance by inking a technology alliance pact with its city neighbour Mitel Networks.
The alliance calls for the integration of Mitel Communications Director (MCD), an IP communications software solution, with N-able’s N-central NSM software platform.
#21: Mark Snider of Ingram Micro Canada
As general manager of Ingram Micro Canada, Mark Snider was active on a number of fronts in 2010 as the distributor continued to round-out its line card in key emerging technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing, put a new push behind its marketing effort and went deeper with key partners such as Cisco Systems.
Ingram is telling partners that cloud computing, networking, security, and virtualization will be the big market opportunities in the SMB.
The distributor is going big on cloud computing. Looking to bridge the gap between solution providers and emerging cloud computing vendors, Ingram used its first ever Cloud Summit in June to forge partnerships with Amazon Web Services, RackSpace Hosting and Salesforce.com.
These three deals will make up Ingram’s new Cloud Conduit program, which encompasses cloud-specific enablement resources and services such as Infrastructure-as-a-Service, educational tools, business development templates, sales training and webinars.
Ingram’s new partner enablement cloud platform will include a specially designed partner-only Web site as well as programs such as Ingram Micro Cloud Services Network and online Cloud Marketplace.
Ingram also became an Avaya Connect value-added distributor, and doubled-down on its Cisco relationship by opening a US$2 million Cisco experience centre at its Solution Centre in Buffalo, N.Y., just over the Canadian border.
#22: Luc Villeneuve of NCR Canada
After nearly two years of successfully running NCR Canada, in the New Year Luc Villeneuve will find himself in Paris, thanks to his recent promotion to president of NCR Europe. Before he left Canada though, the channel veteran made growing NCR Canada’s indirect business a priority in a way it hadn’t often been before.
Villeneuve worked to overhaul NCR’s channel programs and put the indirect channel at the front of the go to market of a company best known as a manufacturer of bank machines, automated grocery store check-out machines and other self-service kiosks.
NCR has been investing in the program and making key changes around programs and incentives, and Villeneuve also worked to improve communication with and educate partners around some of their partner initiatives.
Self-service is at the core of NCR’s vision for the future, and NCR Canada’s work with partner Cycom Canada of Scarborough, Ont. and The Hospital for Sick Children is a good example of how NCR and the channel can work together to bring self-service to market in the key healthcare vertical.
By leveraging its existing relationship with Sick Kids, Cycom inked a pilot project deal to sell and implement eight NCR Wayfinding kiosks in the hospital’s entrance lobbies.
Read more: #22: Luc Villeneuve of NCR Canada
#23: Jere Brown of Dimension Data Americas
Usually Wendy Lucas occupies a newsmakers spot when it comes to Dimension Data. But the Canadian area director had to take a back seat to Jere Brown who delivered strong results in the Americas region for the global solution provider.
Americas revenue climbed by more than 20 per cent from the previous year. A large part of this success came from the Canadian operation. Canada supported the revenue gains to the tune of 41 per cent. What made Dimension Data Canada’s performance so astonishing is that it was done from scratch. It was all organic growth, according to Brown.
But the main reason why Brown is profiled and not Lucas was the monster Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) takeover. NTT is a global IT services specialist and solutions provider.
The Japanese telecommunications giant NTT acquired Dimension Data in July of this year for $3.2 billion. In comparison this deal was almost triple the size of the HP/Palm deal.
NTT together with Dimension Data would create a worldwide IT services powerhouse. Interestingly, one of the main reasons for the deal was that both companies wanted to be a leader in cloud computing.
The NTT takeover was a non-factor in the Americas results said Brown, as most of the revenue was “pretty much baked” before the July 15th announcement.
Read more: #23: Jere Brown of Dimension Data Americas
#24: Greg Tobin of D&H Canada
Despite a time of economic uncertainty, Greg Tobin said D&H Canada’s business has “done extremely well” in 2010. “We’re still exceeding our expectations for business development,” he said. As a testament to its good fortune, Tobin said D&H Canada hired 10 more employees to fill customer-focused positions.
In 2010, the company launched its Business Assurance program for 300 qualified D&H SMB resellers throughout Canada. The program provided resellers with $5 million per month in additional credit beginning in June of 2010.
Based on the success of the program, D&H Canada will expand it to reach 2000 SMB qualified resellers in 2011. D&H will also introduce a rewards and incentive program to complement Business Assurance, Tobin said.
“When our customers succeed, we succeed, so we have a vested interest in providing extra purchasing power to the small-business VAR community we serve,” Tobin said.
The distributor also expanded its digital imaging product portfolio with the addition of new vendor partners including Fuji, Kodak and Sanyo.
D&H also formed a partnership with SMB Nation, a global community of SMB resellers, in the fall.
Read more: #24: Greg Tobin of D&H Canada
#25: Conrad Mandala of SAP Canada
For a vendor working to overcome a history and a reputation for being a direct-first company, 2010 saw continued progress building channel capacity, investing in channel programs, and convincing the community that SAP AG is serious about being a channel-centric company in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) segment.
Leading that effort in Canada is Conrad Mandala, as vice-president, SME for SAP Canada. One of Mandala’s biggest challenges is convincing partners and customers that SAP isn’t just for the enterprise, but is for SMEs as well.
SAP found success making that case in 2010 with the Fast Start for SAP Business All-in-One program, which promises to get an SME customer up and running with SAP in just 30 days.
The Fast Start tool allows channel partners to configure SAP Business All-in-One online and immediately obtain a cost estimate for pre-tested, preconfigured software and hardware.
In addition to a quicker and easier implementation for the customer, Mandala said the program also sees partners get to revenue sooner.
SAP also signalled a stronger commitment to the channel in 2010 with the hiring of former HP channel chief to lead SAP’s channel push in North America.
Read more: #25: Conrad Mandala of SAP Canada
And for the latest channel news, visit channeldailynews.com.