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New Logicalis CSO Houghton To Focus On Vertically-Tailored Solutions, Regional Support

Channel veteran Mike Houghton joins Logicalis after spending seven years at distributor Avnet and another nine months at Tech Data, where the solution provider was one of his customers.

Channel veteran Mike Houghton has been tapped to help reshape the go-to-market strategy of solution provider heavyweight Logicalis US in the newly-created role of chief sales officer.

Houghton joins the NYC-based company, No. 29 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, after spending seven years at distributor Avnet and another nine months at Tech Data, which closed its massive acquisition of Avnet in February. Houghton dealt directly with Logicalis while spearheading Tech Data's enterprise sales efforts in North America and said he developed a great deal of respect for its culture and strategy.

"There's a lot of good, foundational elements the team has built over the years. I felt like it was a great opportunity to come in and be a part of that," Houghton told CRN.

[Related: Insight, Logicalis CEOs: Tech Data-Avnet Deal Will Be Major Win For Channel Partners ]

Given Logicalis' positioning within the IT industry – the solutions and managed services provider is not among the largest in the space, nor is it an outfit confined to one region – Houghton said the sales strategy would focus on specialized solutions built to serve target verticals and business needs.

In particular, Logicalis will make further investments in the government and education space, primarily around SLED clients, as well hospital networks and other health care providers. The company is also emphasizing the development of a comprehensive security solution, cloud-centric solutions and continued growth in the IoT and data analytics space.

Logicalis will still support a broad technology portfolio, he noted, and maintain scale across those practices. The IT provider's large base of "second-platform" customers will continue to be serviced, as well. IP-led solutions, however, will be a key part of the company's go-to-market approach moving forward.

"We'll find our niche in all three of those areas, create that specialization and drive that to market," Houghton said. "When we can, [we'll also] create that combination of specializations into those verticals. We want to become very known for specific solutions in specific markets."

At the same time, Houghton plans to ensure the sales organization has the proper amount of geographic coverage. The specifics of how and where the team might be restructured have not yet been determined, as Monday marked his first official day on the job. However, sales, technical and marketing resources will all be evaluated on a regional basis, he said.

That includes which teams, if any, might report to Houghton outside the scope of the Logicalis sales team.

"I expect to be a colleague to all of my peers to make sure we've got the right resources around technical operations, HR and marketing. Until we announce which roles are going to go where, the only role announced is (CSO)," Houghton said.

Houghton will work from the solution provider's Tempe, Ariz., office, which is currently in the process of hiring at least one other position according to a company LinkedIn post – a professional services consulting supervisor.

That consultative, services mindset will be a vital component of the Logicalis sales strategy. Houghton said it is an approach he's familiar with, having held leadership roles at solution providers Insight and Zones, Inc. before his work in the distribution space.

Houghton hopes his broad perspective will serve him well with Logicalis.

"I have experience in the channel selling to the end-user, selling professional and managed services," he said. "If you add those elements, combined with the distribution experience, (that) gave me wider perspective on the market – where the suppliers are looking to grow, where there's opportunity in the market to grow. It gives you a pretty wide perspective because you're dealing with a wide range of accounts and opportunities.

"That perspective will give me a nice advantage. I can take what we've got in front of us and build on it."

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