Westcon CEO: Cisco Intercloud Huge Opportunity For Distribution


Although initially hesitant about the promises of Cisco Intercloud, as many partners were, Westcon Group CEO Dolph Westerbos said he sees the technology as a huge opportunity for distribution going forward. 

Intercloud will be a big boost for Comstor, the exclusive Cisco distribution arm of the overall Tarrytown, N.Y.-based company, he said. While it used to be the majority of the overall company's revenue, the two halves of the distributor has built a "much healthier" balance, with Comstor taking up around 40 percent of the company's business today.

When it comes to Cisco Intercloud, Westerbos said he originally had the "same nervousness" that some Cisco partners expressed at the time of the March announcement. Those partners were confused at the time about where they would fit in the Intercloud ecosystem, especially after some had already invested in their own Cisco Powered cloud services. After discussions with Cisco to learn more about the strategy, Westerbos said he has gotten more and more excited about it. In particular, Westerbos said that he thinks it is a "very compelling" first of its kind solution for an ecosystem, rather than a single-provider system.

[Related: Exclusive: Westcon CEO Says Company Shifts And Investments Are Paying Off]

"From a strategy point of view, I think it's a very compelling strategy. We're very excited about it.... The more we think about it, the more we talk with Cisco, the more we talk with our partners, we're actually seeing that the whole ecosystem orientation of Intercloud actually allows for partners to tie into part of a bigger whole. I think that's the beauty of the model. It's not the 'this is my Amazon cloud,' 'this is my Google cloud.' No, this is an ecosystem, Intercloud community," Westerbos said.

For Westcon, Westerbos said he expects distribution to take a role in Cisco's go-to-market strategy around Intercloud.

Westcon is already having "detailed discussions around how we can help with the go-to-market of Intercloud," he said. The value in distribution for Intercloud, he said, is in helping partners build solutions around the technology.

"They're looking for solutions and I think this space, I think the whole market, will have to find the right solutions for Cisco in their go-to-market strategy. I think we can be a very compelling partner for them in that space," Westerbos said.

Additionally, Comstor's relationship with Cisco and experience with the technology as a Cisco-only distributor puts it in a position to play a role in Intercloud's go-to-market strategy, he said. 

"This is also where we play a key role. We have such a deep expertise in Cisco," Westerbos said. "I think we actually have a very compelling role to play in that space."

Westerbos said he sees how serious Cisco is about the investment in Intercloud, building a "very significant" organization with "top talent" to drive it. That brings him a lot of confidence in the solution, he said, as he works to position Comstor to take advantage.

"I actually have a lot of confidence in it. ... This is a space that is giving us a way to play a bigger part, not just distributing the solution but enabling the channel with the expertise and the knowledge to make it happen," Westerbos said.

PUBLISHED AUG. 27, 2014