Westcon CEO: Tech Layoffs Could Be An ‘Opportunity’ For The Channel

Westcon CEO David Grant says that major tech layoffs are providing an opportunity for some talent to re-enter the channel.


Westcon CEO David Grant

Big tech layoffs are providing an opportunity for some talent to re-enter the channel, said Westcon’s CEO as the distributor eyes an expansion of their new marketplace.

CRN UK caught up with Westcon CEO David Grant to chat about the goals and challenges of 2023.

“Turning the sales process automation optimization into a reality and driving PartnerCentral adoption are main focuses for us,” he begun.

Sponsored post

“And so is the successful execution of the second wave of our digital transformation, because I believe it will add real value to our partners.

“In a market that’s becoming increasingly tough, although I think it’s more positive than many people will have you believe, we have to be adding more value to our partner relationships and helping our partners with more business.

“So I believe that PartnerCentral and Microsoft Dynamics will help us deliver that value.”

When it comes to talent, however, Grant explains that strategies have changed.

“If you were to go back a year, it would have been making sure that we retain the best talent, because of the explosion in pricing cost increases of people.

And I think we’ve managed that, but the big challenge for us now is making sure that as we change the way in which we engage with our partners, and our vendors, through this digital interface and our people have got to be able to operate that.

“So that change management component, from our point of view, and so making sure that the boys and girls in our business can use our programs and really manage that’s a huge topic.”

Tackling The Talent Shortage

Grant explained how talent shortage is an industry factor that companies have had to manage for quite some time.

“We invest quite a lot in apprentice programs in the markets wherever we can,” he said about Westcon’s efforts to tackle the issue.

“To bring in young talent, but it doesn’t have to be young, just bringing new talent into the business. And educating those people to a point where they have certifications, and they can add value because they understand the technology.

“We’ve been investing in those programs for quite a long time, and are continuing to do that. Because even if we don’t retain all those people, we’ve helped develop them and train them.

“And there is always a degree of retrospective loyalty and appreciation.”

And as for the current big tech layoffs, Grant said: “Well, I think that if you were to go back, maybe 18 months, you might argue that a lot of the talent was being drained out of the channel and went to the vendors, because they were paying more, because they’re the most profitable part of the channel.

“So the fact that some of the talent is coming out of the vendor community is an opportunity for it to go back into the channel.”

However, to this point Grant also posed the question: “How much, and how many of the layoffs are in the markets in which we operate? I don’t know.”

What Are Partners Asking For?

Grant said the need for additional resources and talent is among the most common requests for additional support.

“Quality and availability of resources and talent, that’s still a pain point for partners.

“It might have been previously in sales and design and but now it might be about implementation. So, I still think talent will be a consideration.

“Financing and funding some of the solutions that they that they sell. Now they’re looking to provide way for their end-users to spread the cost of their investments over a longer period of time.

“And we have a solution called Flex, where we help the partners with those financial arrangements.

Westcon believes it needs to focus on the expansion of renewal opportunities and look for how partners leverage more sales opportunities out of their existing customer base, Grant added.

“One of the advantages of having ownership of a customer is that you can be having conversations with them about what else they can buy from you, without that being taken out to multiple suppliers.

“So I think that’s still an opportunity for an opportunity and a challenge. How do they find those opportunities? And can we help them?

“And I think finally, it’s probably about making sure that they have new and innovative technology solutions to take to their customers.”

He added: “And part of our role is to keep bringing new vendors to the table so that they have more in their portfolio to sell.”

This article originally appeared on CRN’s sister site, CRN UK.