Westcon Expands HP, Microsoft Relationships

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Westcon Group has expanded relationships with two major IT vendors as it moves to become a bigger force in security and cloud technologies.

The Tarrytown, N.Y.-based distributor has added Hewlett-Packard's Fortify and TippingPoint solutions and also announced that it now has a formalized initiative to support solutions on Microsoft's Lync platform.

"Each one of them are relevant for our partner base, but together its spells out that Westcon is making a play and going for major IT suppliers to bring into our portfolio," said Westcon's Bill Corbin, executive vice president of global vendor relationships. "HP and Microsoft are two of the biggest players in the industry. To be able to bring them into the fold and embrace their Lync and security solutions [from HP] says a lot for the company."

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Westcon previously sold HP ArcSight products, a relationship that it picked up when HP acquired ArcSight in 2010.

Westcon plans to add HP Fortify and Tipping Point products into its LEAP centers, which solution providers can leverage to build or demonstrate solutions to end users, Corbin said.

"[Fortify] is not something you sell in a broadline distribution agreement. It's not how many at what price. You need to have proof of concept and ROI," Corbin said.

Westcon plans a marketing initiative to its current ArcSight partners, as well as non-HP security partners, to recruit more VARs for the Fortify and TippingPoint products, he added.

Meanwhile, Westcon is in the process of building solutions around Microsoft's Lync platform, to help VARs build their ready-made cloud offerings, Corbin said.

"Lync is a cloud-based platform, but you can't operate a cloud-based platform without some premise-based [infrastructure]. The ecosystem we will develop is an alternative around unified communications, beyond legacy-based solutions only," Corbin said.

For example, Westcon has developed a Polycom solution around Lync that includes not just handsets but video conferencing technology, Corbin said. "We'll wrap technologies around it to create solutions that can go to market and be purchased as a bundle," he said.

That initial bundle also includes products from AudioCodes, Jabra and Acme Packet, according to Westcon.

"Two of the things we do very well around security are unified communication and collaboration. It's been the history of the company. Lync is the evolution of UC into cloud-based platforms," Corbin said. "Every VAR and end user knows what Lync is at this time. But, this is how to engage Lync. We continue to look at how to be relevant to our partner base."


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