Dave Dunne, general manager at Westcoast Ireland, reflects on celebrating 30 years of business in Ireland and shares how the distributor is positioning itself at the heart of the digital transformation revolution.
Westcoast supports channel tech partners to keep up with the seemingly frantic pace of technology change through ongoing investment in tailored services and support. It continues to maintain its deep strategic relationship with market driving vendors including HPE, HP Inc, Microsoft, Lenovo and many more.
Distribution has gone through an unprecedented period of change over the last few years, with the sector shrinking considerably through M&A and consolidation. Despite countless predictions over the years that the role of a distributor would eventually become redundant, it has, in fact, emerged as a crucial support system for both vendors and resellers, as technological advancements continue.
At the heart of Westcoast Ireland’s sustained 30 years in business are its relationships with customers and vendors.
“We would like to thank our valued customers for their continued support and our team are proud to represent many of the world’s leading tech brands in Ireland,” Dunne said.
Westcoast has been at the forefront of change and has been working hard behind the scenes to stay relevant to its customers and ahead of the competition. Its Irish offices in Tallaght have just been transformed to celebrate 30 years in business; the investment Westcoast is making in Ireland is a testament to the staff and a real confidence in the team’s ability to increase response time to customer and vendor requirements.
Westcoast has recently undergone its own restructuring process to ensure it is future-proofed for the ongoing challenges such as digital transformation, cloud technology and the rise of artificial intelligence.
Dunne explained: “The restructuring was about making sure we’re fit for purpose, that we are future proof within the business in terms of making sure we’ve got the right structure to grow. It is how do we support our resellers in this huge shift to positioning value solutions over traditional volume products?
“For us it is three key areas: to ensure we have a strong commercial vendor-facing category team, a strong technical team – whether that’s pre sales tools, enablement and consultancy – and then thirdly, making sure we have the right sales and business development focus to ensure we are out there talking to our partners about what to do and how to help them sell.”
And help to sell is exactly what partners need in this minefield of cutting-edge technology. Not in a patronising way, but primarily to arm them with the knowledge and ability to help them pinpoint the best solutions for their own customers.
“Quite often, distribution comes into the conversation too late, and we need to make sure we come in earlier to be able to provide the right level of service and support,” Dunne said.
He explained that the team at Westcoast was poised to help with that journey. “We have the specialist knowledge within the business to help our partners react to market trends, and to the point around digital transformation, it has never moved as fast as it has the last couple of years and I think it will accelerate further in the next couple of years,” he said. “We know and understand there’s a huge skills gap in addressing each of those technology areas – about a 50 to 60 per cent deficiency in skills available to resellers.
“The majority of the people in the Westcoast Ireland business started here at the beginning or very early part of their career and have moved up with the business and grown into the role. It is a good thing to hang on to.”
This in turn is extended to its own customer base.
“There is no stone unturned in terms of enablement capabilities, whether it is classroom stuff, getting through exams or proving the technology in front of a customer. We can do the lot,” Dunne added.
But the gaps in the channel are not just technology-focused, he explained. Often the vendor programmes themselves are extremely confusing. And again, this is where Westcoast comes into its own.
“We can provide the support, the training and enablement; we can co-sell with them and provide tools and solutions,” he said. “We can provide dashboards for our partners, so we can help support and manage their opportunities, manage their people and manage their sales pipeline.”
For success to happen requires commitment on both sides, Dunne said. He revealed that the distributor is still looking to grow and work with new “future-thinking” partners.
To find out more about how you can work with Westcoast, contact [email protected], phone 01-404 6166 or log on to westcoastireland.ie. Westcoast Ireland, Clarity House, Belgard Rd, Tallaght, Dublin 24