How Dimension Data manages vendors, from Cisco and Microsoft to the next hot startup

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This article appeared in the February 2017 issue of CRN magazine.

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How Dimension Data manages vendors, from Cisco and Microsoft to the next hot startup
Pete Murray, Dimension Data

Managing myriad go-to-market strategies and a bevy of vendors, from tier-ones like Cisco and Microsoft to the next-buzz startups, is no mean feat. It’s a job that Pete Murray does not take lightly.

As Dimension Data Australia’s regional director for the New South Wales and ACT business, Murray says his company’s partner program is split into two strategies: dealing with global and local partnerships. It manages vendors through the following six go-to-markets: networking, data centre, end-user computing, security, customer experience and collaboration, and digital.

“That partner program is managed through two mechanisms,” says Murray. “One is: we have six go-to-markets, and in each of those go-to-markets we have key vendors in that go-to-market that enable us to best fit the right technology to appliance requirements. 

“Then, to support that activity, we have a vendor management office that manages things like certifications, registration programs, rebate programs, commitments to budgets, targets and so forth.”

The company’s hit list of 11 top-tier vendors saw it named a 2016 CRN MVP. This program is the only initiative that recognises IT providers based on their aggregate partner status across multiple vendors.

With so many vendor relationships, invested in to the highest level, Murray says it’s very difficult to name the ones that Dimension Data will lean on to do the heavy lifting in 2017.

“It is a difficult one to answer because the clients’ requirements and the clients’ business needs largely lead us to the right product or solution for us to provide the integration and the services capability behind that, so all of them are important,” says Murray. 

Murray says that in Australia, Cisco is the MSP’s largest vendor, with all of Dimension Data’s set go-to-markets carrying Cisco solutions. 

“Microsoft, as well, is critical to us; we are a very large Microsoft partner across all elements, both the traditional product licensing business and cloud and Office 365. In fact, recently we acquired a company that gives us the capability to provide transformation and management services for Office 365 over and above what you can get out of the box of Office 365,” says Murray. 

“Then there’s two other groups. Anything data centre and cloud is very important to us, so Dell EMC are very important. Another strategic focus that we’re looking to grow aggressively through 2017 is security. So, those vendors that form some of that security ecosystem, which is a busy ecosystem, are also very important to us.”

With cloud services on the rise, Murray says Azure and Office 365 will play a big role for Dimension Data over the next 12 months, even alongside its own native cloud capability. And, through security and data centre networking, as well as incubating internet of things trends, DiData expects to double down on Cisco.

Newer partnership opportunities are also a focus for companies that want to remain relevant and innovative. Leveraging parent company NTT’s research and development spend, Dimension Data can pull in fresh and exciting vendors.

“The most recent ones would be in the area of flash storage,” says Murray.

Though unable to reveal it’s new partners in flash, Dimension Data did last year announce an Australian-first product in partnership with security vendor Blue Coat, providing its brand of web-security-as-a-service ahead of the rest of the world. 

WebSaaS monitors inbound and outbound traffic to identify and block malicious content like viruses, malware and untrusted websites. The solution can be extended to protect mobile devices.

“We’re always evaluating what we do, we’re always evaluating the vendors we’re partnering with, for that matter and it’s largely, again, dictated by where our clients are seeing their needs go,” says Murray. 

“The best example of that would be the acquisition we made of Ceryx, which is out of Canada, that gives us that umbrella managed services capability on the top of Office 365.” 

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