Westcon adds to security, UC portfolios with HP, Microsoft deals

Bill Corbin, executive vice president of global vendor relationship at Westcon Group

Bill Corbin, executive vice president of global vendor relationship at Westcon Group

Westcon Group announced the expansion of two vendor relationships that will see it increase its presence in the security and unified communications fields.

The distributor announced an expansion of its pact with HP to include more of the company’s security products and solutions, adding TippingPoint and Fortify to its security linecard, which has already included HP ArcSight.

And it announced it’s expanding its deal with Microsoft, building bundles of solutions around the software giant’s Lync hosted unified communications products for channel partners.

In both cases, the relationships make a lot of sense for Westcon, said Bill Corbin, executive vide president of global vendor relationships at Westcon.

“It plays into our strategy of bringing the best and brightest solutions by the biggest and most relevant IT suppliers in the world, and taking them to market with a consistent global footprint,” Corbin said.

The Microsoft deal presents an interesting greenfield opportunity to Westcon and its partners. While the company has long had a deep practice around voice networking and unified communications, it has not historically worked with Microsoft in North America. But with Lync getting a big push from Microsoft in the channel, there’s an opportunity, Corbin believes.

“The traditional Microsoft partners is not a UC partner, and the traditional UC partner is not selling Microsoft,” he said.

In fact, Lync has been something of a disruptive technology for solution providers who’ve built practices around traditional on-premise UC solutions. Corbin said the company’s UC VARs “are looking for an alternative,” particularly one that puts them into the SME part of the UC conversation where solutions from IBM and Google are the major players. His bet: Lync may be somewhat competitive to some of Westcon’s on-prem UC partners, but it mostly represents a new opportunity to get into the small business market.

The company’s strategy in the space is to offer the Lync Hardware Catalogue, an “a la carte menu” of Lync-certified additions both to its existing network of solution providers, and to Microsoft’s community of UC-focused partners. Both companies will promote the Catalogue to their partner bases as a way to more easily build out a full solution around Lync.

Technologies included in the current Lync Hardware Catalogue include Polycom handsets and video gear, AudioCodes voice-centric networking gear, Jabra headsets and session border controllers from Acme Packets. Corbin said that lineup will evolve over time, and there are already additional products under consideration for inclusion.

The model around the Lync Hardware Catalogue was pioneered by Westcon and Microsoft in EMEA, where Corbin reports it’s been “wildly successful.”

The new deal with HP dates back to before the company purchased ArcSight. The then-startup security vendor signed on with Westcon as its exclusive North American distribution partner in a bid to build a channel. Months later, it was acquired by HP, a move which Corbin admits caught him by surprise. But it’s a move that set the stage for an expanded HP security portfolio, one that has since been built out with the purchase of TippingPoint and Fortify. By bringing those new members of the HP security portfolio into the family, Corbin said Westcon and its partners are in a unique position to offer a “very robust solution” that’s interweaved the three products into an end-to-end solution for many businesses. The deal is a global pact.

“We’re going to bring, particularly in Canada, a complete security portfolio that’s an end-to-end HP offering we couldn’t offer before,” Corbin said.

The plan for the security products is different by product. For TippingPoint, it’s a mix of partner recruitment and seeking to serve the existing audience of HP TippingPoint partners. And for Fortify, a technology Corbin characterized as a little more complex and a little more nascent in its channel journey, it’s all about recruiting and enabling partners, making VARs aware of the opportunities around Fortify.

In both cases, the technologies will be up and running in the distributor’s LEAP Center lab in Denver within 60 days, Corbin said. Having the HP security portfolio in the lab will mean that Westcon has the opportunity to train and certify solution providers and their end user customers where appropriate, on the full gamut of HP Security and Risk Management family of products.