Cisco Systems Canada wanted and welcomes Dimension Data in Canada, but that may not be the case for the rest of the channel.

The new Canadian subsidiary, based in Toronto, will be Dimension Data’s 38th worldwide office. The global IT services and solution provider headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa will be exclusive with Cisco and Microsoft in Canada and will, for now, stick to the 1,000 seats and above market.

Dimension Data has hired former NexInnovations vice president Wendy Lucas to be its area vice president for the Canadian operation.

Lucas’ primary focus as Canadian head is to establish a footprint for Dimension Data in Canada. She is also mandated to develop planning sessions for current global customers. At her disposal are vast resources from the U.S. and South African operations.

“Whomever has the most expertise we will bring in for customers,” she said.

The company has been servicing global customers in Canada every since they opened its U.S. office in 1999. Currently, Dimension Data has deployed more than 2,000 IP networks, 500,000 IP phones, 77,000 servers and supports more than a petabyte of data for 5,000 customers worldwide.

Lucas said timing was the only reason why Dimension Data did not enter the Canadian market earlier. “The timing was right, now. Dimension Data planned it this way. We did want to grow out the American market and then expand to Canada. The reason now is that the market as a whole is moving to unified communications and it’s the consumer that is bringing that technology to market and pushing corporations to move on it,” Lucas said.

She believes the market in Canada needs someone such as Dimension Data who has managed services capabilities and can support customers nationally and globally.

Cisco Canada also feels the same way. Lucas admitted that the networking giant wanted Dimension Data in Canada to address the on-going high demand for unified communications. Dimension Data has six managed services operations around the world. The company’s managed services are predominantly monitoring. They do not do any hosting, she said.

Ross Pellizzari, Cisco Canada’s channel chief, said that the company wants the best global partners in Canada to help it grow the market with Cisco.

“We are flattered that Dimension Data is coming to this market and wanted to invest in Canada,” he said.

Pellizzari said that the rest of the top solution partners in the market will be cautious of a company such as Dimension Data.

“They will be watching where they take the business and where they invest. The same way we watch Microsoft or other competitors,” Pellizzari said.

He added that a global provider such as Dimension Data will drive a lot of attention and demand towards unified communications especially when they start calling on customers. “There is lots of pie in the unified communications space.”

Dimension Data Canada will be primarily focus on unified communications.

“Unified communications is moving into the corporate market and expanding into contact centres in Canada. We will focus on that area as well as advanced technologies,” Lucas said.

She added that Dimension Data Canada wants to be an advanced unified communications specialist along with routing, switching, security and wireless. These solutions will be horizontal, Lucas said, so that they can be adopted by all customers in vertical markets.

Pellizzari said Dimension Data’s focus on advanced technologies will help bring more attention to a market that is already gaining in momentum. “There expertise building solutions and networks that add value to business will accelerate our advanced technologies and unified communications portfolio.

He also said that Dimension Data will help grow its recently announced Telepresence and Webex business.

Lucas said that Dimension Data does plan on working with top solution providers in Canada since they will not be taking on any business under 1,000 seats. Dimension Data has a Preferred Partner program to deal with these partnerships. “It is a disciplined program that focuses on market building. We have depth of expertise, but we can’t be everyone to everybody,” she said of the program.

Lucas said she will be targeting financial and insurance institutions first along with American firms who want to grow in Canada.

Dimension Data currently has 12 employees in Canada and are in hiring mode, Lucas said. The company is looking for sales and pre-sales solution staff, people who can plan and suggest the right technology. Lucas has not put any limits on the number of people she will hire. “It is as fast as we can grow the market,” she said.

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