New Zones Executives Discuss Strategy Around Cloud, Software, Internet of Things

Solution provider Zones promoted 15-year veteran Dominic Camden to senior vice president of enterprise sales, the company's third major executive move in the past month.

The Auburn, Wash.-based company, No. 31 on the 2014 CRN Solution Provider 500, said Monday that Camden is aiming to drive double-digit growth in headcount and investment within the sales division. He replaces Tom Ducatelli, who stepped down as executive vice president of sales and business development at the end of January to pursue other opportunities.

"Our customers are asking for fewer partners, to do business with fewer solution providers," Camden told CRN. "The strength of Zones is that we can be that one partner as customers are looking to consolidate."

[RELATED: Zones Executive Vice President Tom Ducatelli Departs]

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Camden has spent nearly the past 12 years as regional vice president of enterprise sales for the North Central area, where he shepherded his team to an annual sales growth rate of more than 300 percent and oversaw investment in company-owned logistics and integration solution centers.

Camden's promotion follows the arrival of Jon Allen from Carbonite and Todd Leeson from Absolute Software, who will serve as vice presidents of cloud and software, respectively. Cloud and software used to be overseen by a single vice president, but Zones split those into separate roles to help drive growth in what the solution provider considers to be key technology areas.

All of these changes come just 19 months after Murray Wright, a former Tech Data executive, was named Zones president and CEO. Wright has accelerated Zones's push into services and worked to grow the solution provider's mobility, software and security practices.

In his new role, Camden plans to continue to build out Zones' relevance to Fortune 1000 customers by being a player in the entire IT landscape and bringing aboard subject matter experts to help customers navigate through key areas of complexity.

As recently as five or 10 years ago, Camden said Fortune 500 companies were comfortable working with a different solution provider in each technology area. But the rise of converged infrastructure has prompted enterprise customers to seek a single IT partner they can leverage across all technology areas, Camden said, with the intent of getting better deals and deepening vendor discounts.

Zones has expanded its global reach and expertise in recent years, Camden said, and the additions of Allen and Leeson should make it even easier for the company to be a key strategic partner across the entire technology landscape.

"We're not just good at one piece of that business or one piece of that life cycle," Camden said.

One technology area where Camden is planning to ramp up sales efforts is the Internet of Things, where he said Zones has established one of the first practices of any solution provider. He feels that IoT offers Zones manageable plays in the marketplace at both the application- and business-unit levels, particularly around security and surveillance systems.

Many of Zones' customers have been asking for one- or two-hour breakouts to gain a better understanding of what IoT means to their environment. Zones also is looking to orient its sales strategy more around line-of-business executives since they are expected to exert greater control over IT spending going forward.

Zones also is looking to grow its networking and data center practices -- particularly as they relate to storage and server products -- by leveraging its relationship with vendors such as Cisco Systems and Hewlett-Packard, Camden said.

On the cloud side of the equation, Allen told CRN that he's looking to the practice to evolve from emerging to mature by focusing on public, private and hybrid solutions. Since starting at Zones roughly 45 days ago, he has been focused on figuring out the go-to-market strategies, services and distributors that most resonate with cloud customers.

Zones also is interested in going deeper with cloud services around email, business continuity, disaster recovery and unified communications, Allen said. The company is also looking by midyear to make its cloud solutions fully automated, he said, regardless of whether they operate on an annual, subscription or utility-based sales model.

Zones also aims to develop complementary solutions and services around major cloud vendors such as Microsoft, Symantec, VMware and Adobe, as well as build a strategy around emerging born-in-the-cloud partners such as BitTitan and Carbonite. Allen has just 11 direct reports today, but he hopes a cloud hiring spree will double or triple that figure by the end of the year.

As for software, Leeson told CRN his initial responsibilities will be around identifying security software vendors and managing the Microsoft relationship. Roughly 14 brand managers and other employees are working under Leeson in the software group, he said.

Leeson said his team will be looking for more opportunities to raise security software in conversations with customers as well as figuring out additional ways to wrap it around pieces of hardware. For Microsoft, Leeson said Zones is focused on making big investments in Office 365 and Azure to increase end user deployments and consumption of both.

"From a customer perspective," he said, "Microsoft is so pervasive."