Channel programs News
CRN Exclusive: Curvature Taps 35-Year Dell, HP Vet To Boost Channel Strategy
Curvature, formerly known as Network Hardware Resale, has a near-30-year legacy that lies in the IT infrastructure reseller space. But now, the Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company is turning its attention to the support of network services. Curvature is building momentum around this business direction by scooping up Linda York as its vice president of global services and channels.
York has more than 35 years of leadership experience in the tech industry, working for Dell and Hewlett-Packard. She plans to ramp up the company's networking services arm to include more vendors, as well as opportunities for the channel. CRN spoke with York to hear about the new direction. Following are excerpts of the conversation.
[Related: Curvature: Call Us The Disrupter ]
CRN: What is the scope of your new position with Curvature?
York: I'm coming on to be the vice president of services sales, which tells you immediately that Curvature is very serious about working at these services for the network. We are a networking specialty company with over 28 years of selling [hardware] into the enterprise and to folks that manage the network. It makes sense for us to absolutely catch up with the services as well because we've sort of done that by default with our customers, and now we are making it a bona fide business.
CRN: What will this new emphasis on support services mean for the channel?
York: I will have channel under me as a responsibility with the thought that services is perfect for not only our direct sales force, but also a complementary channel play as well. So now we are looking at the strategy for what we call NetSure, our [existing] maintenance services [organization], and it’s a big umbrella. We acquired a company last year that helped round out our services organization which will provide professional services -- in addition to maintenance services -- for multiple vendors such as HP, IBM and Dell, not just Cisco. … The channel plays a tremendous role in the success of these services.
CRN: Aside from infrastructure providers like HP and Cisco, do you have any plans to offer support services for any service provider offerings?
York: It's certainly a possibility in the future' but I would say we are going to be laser-focused on the network at this point in time. The network being the switch, the router [and] where they play in the enterprise, in the cloud, between servers [and] the storage piece. As that relates to mobile and telco services, we can certainly see an expansion there. We have worked with some customers on some custom projects' but I would say that would be the exception and not the rule. It's really important that we do a few things really well.
CRN: Can you talk a little about how the expansion of professional and maintenance services will provide recurring revenue opportunities for channel partners?
York: The channel can sell through our services. These are often multiyear contracts -- one to three years -- which will [provide] recurring revenue. That's very attractive to our partners and the channel. We are actually looking at whether we should have a separate team just working on renewals so that we can have this recurring revenue that is done in a very expedient manner and easy fashion.
CRN: How will the channel strategy for Curvature change?
York: We look at the channel as a couple of different pieces because, in addition to [Bill Marozas, vice president of Worldwide Channel Development], I also have a vice president of strategic partnerships. So, we broke the channel into two distinct pieces for now to ramp them up. One piece is strategic partners that look more like traditional OEMs. We are also talking to a variety of very large OEMs that traditionally sell hardware and need and want Curvature as an offering for their customer base to round out their offerings.
The channel, [Marozas'] group, will also work with system integrators and VARs and create a network of partners. We are going about it in a three-pronged approach -- direct sales force, strategic partners and a VAR network -- and we are rapidly ramping up expertise in all those areas.
CRN: Looking ahead, what does the future road map look like for Curvature's services organization under your leadership?
York: We will be starting to define the company not just as a hardware reseller, but a services company as well. That will inevitably create an evaluation that is greater than if we were exclusively a hardware reseller. We are very focused on executing to that plan right now [and] we believe very good things will result from that if we execute well. We have very aggressive plans for the company.
Joining this team reminds me of my early days at Dell, where growth was our biggest problem and we had to hire enough people to cover all of the opportunities. Every person and every partner I talk to gets our value proposition, which is really to have a multivendor network with better cost for the end-user customer and better management of their assets.
PUBLISHED JULY 6, 2015