When Ed Vos left OnX Enterprise Solutions this summer, the Thornhill, Ont.-based solution provider appointed Mike Cox, who had been running its rapidly-growing U.S. operations, the CEO’s seat. The company this week solidified and clarified its leadership at home, promoting Paul Khawaja from executive vice president in charge of Canada to president of its Canadian operations.
Khawaja, a well-known channel executive dating back to his time heading up xwave and then leading services for Softchoice, takes the helm of a very large (for the Canadian market) solution provider that’s still showing solid growth. He said that for the company’s first quarter, its business was up 25 percent year-over-year, with cloud and managed services leading the way with growth north of 30 percent.
“Our Q2 is shaping up very well as well,” Khawaja said. Ahhh, the benefits of being a privately held company.
Khawaja said his main goal is to focus on bringing together the company’s multiple lines of business in customers minds. OnX’s offerings include traditional product resale, managed services, professional services, application services, and cloud services, a stance that he feels gives it the advantage of working with clients at any level of IT maturity or transformation.
“Our most exciting task is to ensure we work with our vast clientele in Canada, and take them from how they traditionally consume IT, to a converged infrastructure stack as they move towards the cloud. We have a great story around that,” Khawaja said. “We’re one of the few players in North America that can take customers through the whole journey. There are plenty of good traditional partners, and plenty of good cloud partners, but there aren’t many who are really good at both.”
Canadian businesses have a reputation for being more cautious than their American counterparts in adapting new technologies, but Khawaja suggests that reputation is not entirely fair. Sure, the largest of the large customers tend to be a little slower than others at adapting new technologies, but in Canada, those few big customers tend to be in highly-regulated industries where the cloud transformation is therefore all the more tricky. And then there’s very little in the way of midsize in Canada before you get into the SMB space. But the good part of that is, you’re into the SMB space.
“SMB is a lot of fun,” Khawaja said. “Once the Canadian enterprise space reaches it peak in terms of its own IT transformation, it will definitely beat SMB in spend. But right now, SMB is leading the way.”
The company is also leading the charge to show that the transformation is good for business by embracing the technology it sells. As its built out its own cloud offerings, the company “effectively mobilized its traditional sales force.”
“In order for us to succeed, it’s a transition we had to make,” Khawaja said.
For OnX, it was a matter of showing it was in the cloud business “not just because we say so, but because we’ve invested in it,” and it’s a move that’s paid dividends thus far.
“Once that success got out in the sales organization, we’ve closed cloud deals from our most western office in Calgary to our most eastern office in St. John’s Newfoundland,” Khawaja said.