Enterasys picks Cisco exec to lead Canadian team

Paul Zink had less than half an hour before he had to rush into a sales meeting on Monday, but he wasn’t worried.

The recently-appointed head of Enterasys Networks Canada Ltd. had a wireless card in his laptop, where he had already

stored a presentation of Web sites he’d been reviewing and which he wanted his employees to see.

Zink, who joined Enterasys Canada in November after almost nine years at Cisco Systems Canada, includes mobility as one of the three strengths in the organization’s product line. The others are security (which he says became an issue well before the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11), and the availability of network backbones.

As vice-president, Canada Region, Zink’s responsibilities include sales, marketing and furthering the company’s move to a 100 per cent indirect sales model. In an interview with Computer Dealer News, Zink talked about how he plans to do it.

CDN: What happened to your predecessor, Paul Johnston? He was barely there a year.

Zink: I don’t know Paul Johnson or where he is at the current time. One thing that I can say is that he put many things into place at Enterasys Canada that we’re leveraging. We’re just moving forward on many of his plans, so in that regard, it’s a good thing.

CDN: What would you say is the most important experience you’ve brought with you from Cisco?

Zink: A respect and an appreciation for the channel organization in Canada. There is no doubt that there is so many benefits that Canadian customers can derive from utilizing the channel. This is why Enterasys Canada and Enterasys worldwide has adopted the channel as a go-to-market strategy. Buying product in isolation doesn’t bring all the benefits that one could derive. When you look at many channel propositions, they include so many things like the applications, the infrastructure, the support mechanism. All in all, it’s in the customer’s best interest to look to the channel. They are well-regarded in the marketplace and they’re doing fairly well, even though these are challenging times.

CDN: Cisco is certainly known for its range of channel programs. Is there anything you’ll borrow from their approach for Enterasys’s VAR programs?

Zink: We won’t be all things to all people. Take a look at what our value proposition is, cross-reference that with the strong channel partners that could best leverage that expertise and that product’s superiority and take that to market. Based on our size in Canada, it is to everyone’s benefit that we focus on a few versus many.

CDN: What about distributors? Enterasys recently formed a partnership with Tech Data Canada’s Xalyx division. Will there be similar relationships with several distributors or are you sticking with Tech Data?

Zink: Tech Data is quite a professional organization in my books. I just had breakfast with some of the head people there. We are putting plans in place to grow the business. I just like that partnership; they appreciate our solution and where it can be used in their customer base. You will see in the next couple of months some developments from that partnership that will enhance that. We’ll do well together.

CDN: Enterasys seems to be concentrating primarily on second-tier resellers. Is there room for larger VARs?

Zink: I think there’s always room for top-tier VARs. They don’t all do the same thing. Each have their unique specialty and some focus in different verticals. Would I be looking to grow my top tier of channel partners? Absolutely, that’s a work in progress. I’m trying to find the appropriate coverage for all verticals and all solution types.

CDN: Are there any verticals where you’re starting to see some signs of economic recovery?

Zink: Certainly in education we’re very strong in Canada. Corporate Canada, your standard Fortune 100 are also attracting wireless solutions, particularly as people embrace “”hotelling,”” they don’t have to worry about wiring to the desktop so much. If you look in the security area, the financial side of corporate Canada are looking strongly at our solutions. It’s not any one particular vertical. Petro-Canada will be implementing our security solution. All companies with respect to wireless have a strong interest in these kinds of products.

CDN: Any key priorities in terms of growing the business?

Zink: The key priority is really partnership . . . It’s not just going in and talking about wireless. If you come to the table with a partner and address their mandates, you’ll see some significant growth rates.

Comment: [email protected]

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