Westcon Group Forms Worldwide Comstor Unit Focused On Cisco VARs

The new Comstor Worldwide will have its own management structure and profit and loss center, and will be led by William Corbin, Westcon's executive vice president of global strategic relations, and Jon Pritchard, executive vice president of Comstor.

Westcon also said it would be expanding Comstor operations into Canada and Brazil.

"We're taking our Comstor business and our Cisco-related distribution business and creating one worldwide P&L around that business reporting directly to me," said Westcon President and CEO Dean Douglas in a Channelweb.com interview. "We're splitting Westcon into the Comstor business and Westcon's other business as usual around Westcon Convergence and Westcon Security."

Douglas described the change as a natural extension of the global distribution agreement Westcon signed with Cisco in April -- a move that gave Westcon a single contract vehicle with which to manage all of its Cisco business worldwide instead of separate, regional contracts.

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He said Westcon's VAR partners won't notice an immediate difference in the way they do business with Westcon for Cisco products, but eventually, the move will allow Westcon to offer a wider breadth of Cisco products to VARs worldwide and give VARs who deal primarily in Cisco's ecosystem a more focused outlet for doing business.

"The rationale is that we have different go-to-market models," Douglas said. "This allows us to focus on Cisco and their resellers more closely and other suppliers and resellers as well."

"We can really apply ourselves and do some good things around our partner base here to leverage what we do with Cisco seamlessly and efficiently," added Corbin.

Westcon first acquired Comstor.net a decade ago, when the Washington, D.C.-based unit was owned by GE Capital IT Solutions and Westcon didn't yet offer Cisco products. According to Westcon, its Comstor business these days accounts for more than half of Westcon's overall revenue.

Douglas said Westcon's channel partners had greater interest than ever in Cisco, thanks to the arrival of Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) and how Cisco's foray into the data center would create business opportunities for VARs.

"The UCS and other products from those lines are going to be very significant in the way the market looks at telecoms in IT," Douglas said.

On the public sector side, Douglas said Westcon would continue its investment into providing networking, security and convergence resources for VARs seeking business around the federal stimulus.

"We're continuing to see that marketplace expand in pretty robust fashion," Douglas said. "Less than 15 percent of the stimulus dollars have been spent already -- we're seeing the Department of Defense starting to spend some money -- and there's a lot of terrific opportunity for Westcon and our resellers."