Stratos' New Global Channel SVP Takes Solution Provider Business International

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Managing international IT deployments for U.S. companies requires working closely with the customers' capabilities and the vendors' services models, DeRocker said.

"With EMC, for instance, in the U.S. we do everything for the customer," he said. "But overseas, nine times out of 10 the rack, stack and deployment is done by EMC. But if the customer needs Stratos-Nexus help, I have people who can be there."

The new international push started about eight months ago when Stratos landed a new U.S. customer that asked Stratos to handle all its international IT business. That led the company to set up an international presence in Ireland, and from there to Australia, Hong Kong, the U.K. and Germany, DeRocker said.

Actual promotion of the new international capabilities only started afterwards. "We went from crawl-walk-run to crawl-run, and skipped the learning to walk part," he said. "Word spread quickly to customers. Today, not a week goes by without hearing form a new customer. Before, they had seven throats to choke. Now they have one: us."

About half of Stratos' international clients are existing Nexus customers that have expanded their relationship with the solution provider, while the other half are net-new U.S. customers that signed with Stratos to handle the international deployments, DeRocker said.

Dealing with clients' international IT business can provide a big rate of return, DeRocker said.

"But the barrier to entry is high," he said. "There was hundreds of thousands of Stratos dollars invested in country registrations, with Ernst & Young to get set up overseas. It's not something most people want to take on. The cost is high. It provides a higher return, but it doesn't happen overnight."

For DeRocker, the hardest part of his position is working with manufacturers overseas.

"There's not a single manufacturer who acts globally," he said. "They all act regionally. Getting them to play nice is my No. 1 problem. The second-hardest part is working the distributors. It's the same issues as working with manufacturers, just not quite so bad."



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