How Nuvias is differentiating through solution stacks and acquisitions

by Arun Shankar   26 June, 2017
How Nuvias is differentiating through solution stacks and acquisitions

Alasdair Kilgour is Vice President MEA and APAC at Nuvias.

Nuvias is a value-added distribution group operating across Europe, Middle East and Africa. It includes the operations of specialist distributors Wick Hill, Zycko and Siphon. These specialised value-added distributors have been previously acquired by UK based Rigby Private Equity and centrally integrated with each other. Each of these three distributors are highly specialised across enterprise security, advanced networking, and unified communication. The objective of acquiring these specialised distributors and integrating their operations was to build a capability across certain practices.

Points out Alasdair Kilgour, Vice President of Middle East and Africa at Nuvias, “All of the acquisitions have been distributors. But what is interesting is each of them have been specialists in particular areas. None of them are broad-line and that is not our intention.” Kilgour also points out the intention of acquiring these best-of-breed, value added distributors was not because of the ongoing consolidation in the regional and global IT channel industry. “I do not think it is getting anything to do with consolidation. I think it is the opposite of consolidation, in fact. It is certainly integrating.”

Consolidation of businesses generally implies, merger of failing businesses and industries. In contrast, the objective of creating the pan-EMEA Nuvias group has been driven by bringing together, best of breed, highly specialised, highly successful, value distributors, rather than failing companies. The vision of Nuvias is the integration of best-in-breed organisations into a single platform. Another driving factor in the creation of Nuvias has been the experience of Rigby Private Equity in investing in broad-line and volume distribution companies.

“So, it has been through the broad-line way and the volume distribution piece and it clearly understands what that is and therefore understands how to build something that is differentiated from that.” Having an extremely broad vendor portfolio is not necessarily the road-map that Nuvias wants to follow. Neither does it want to stray into commodity led products and marketplaces.

Nuvias is following a solution-led distribution strategy, where it is stacking vendors in a complementary fashion, with their net outcome being a solution that its channel partners can offer to end-users. It is following this vendors-in-layers-of-onion solution approach for cyber security in the region, advanced networking, and unified communication. Since there are many, established, broad-line and volume distributors in the industry, which are focusing on products, the approach was to create a differentiated entity that generates value for both vendors and channel partners.

“You need to have a stack of vendors that work together as a solution, and that is really what we are focused on. In doing so the vendors we work with are predominantly, completely complementary, and they do fill a bit of the picture,” explains Kilgour. Nuvias integrates the complementary vendor products into a solution, which empowers reseller and system integration partners to take solutions to end-users rather than point products.

With end-users, increasingly demanding successful business outcomes rather than a stack of products, new entrant distributors like Nuvias need to build vendor partnerships that work together as solutions. “Everybody recognises the shift in terms of how end-users are making a purchasing decision. People want to buy outcomes,” he adds.

With the value-added, solution-layer approach, followed by Nuvias in the market, its vendor partners benefit in at least two ways. By integrating together, best-of-breed, specialised, and successful distributors like Wick Hill, Zycko, and Siphon, Nuvias is centralising skilled resources and making them available for a deeper stack of complementary vendors.

“That was the point in the exercise, we brought together the best in the business. Now we have the ability to go in and geographically expand that technical competence,” says Kilgour. Much of the resources do not have to be locally replicated into each region and can remain centralised.

The second benefit for vendor partners, is with Nuvias differentiating itself in the market as a solution-led, value added distributor, which is a key expectation of end-users, it is in fact creating more relevant demand for its vendor partners. Further, creation of this demand for vendor partners is being rolled out uniformly across the pan-EMEA region.

Unlike broad-line and volume distribution, the name of the game for Nuvias is not to gain scales of logistics. The benefit of integrating the best of breed skills of Wick Hill, Zycko, and Siphon into a single, centralised entity, is for vendor partners to gain consistency of roll-out, in whichever country or region they choose to operate in through Nuvias.

Consistency of roll out applies to product knowledge and an understanding of the value proposition, available from the vendor’s portfolio, being known to channel partners. “Regional teams for vendors have got to want to do that, you know, we cannot impose that one. It is not an open-and-shut case that is definitely going to happen. We get too much respect from our partners to think that way,” stresses Kilgour.

Nuvias’ solution-led, distribution strategy must also prove to its community of reseller and system integration partners, that there is value in it for them. The integration of Wick Hill, Zycko, and Siphon, into Nuvias brings with it a certain number of channel partners with whom Nuvias has a historical relationship in the region. Nuvias is mapping its channel partners with the right relationships to the right end-users, to vendors who can gain access to those end-users as well provide additional value to the channel partners.

Kilgour explains, “What are those two things, that gets the vendors to the right place, but also adds value to our partners. We are enabling partners to go and take more value to the relationships that they already have. Rather than taking a shotgun-approach to things, we are actually trying to think-through.”

“We are not just taking a product that we think is really cool to one of our vendor partners and saying go ahead and take that to your customers and see what happens. We are trying to make it a bit more thought-through and a bit more joined up,” is how Kilgour describes Nuvias’ go-to-market strategy.


(Left to right) Alasdair Kilgour, Vice President MEA and APAC at Nuvias; and Paul Eccleston, CEO of Nuvias.

 

Nuvias snapshot

The Nuvias group is a partnership of three leading regional and global distributors. This includes Wick Hill, Zycko and Siphon. Wick Hill Group is part of private investment company, Rigby Private Equity. It was established in 1976, as a value-added distributor.  Wick Hill specialises in secure IP infrastructure solutions. Its portfolio covers security access, security management, network performance, convergence, storage and hosted solutions.

Zycko is part of is part of private investment company, Rigby Private Equity. Established in 1999, Zycko is an international, specialist distributor of IT solutions. These include unified communications, security and protection, IT monitoring and optimisation, datacentre infrastructure, data networking, data storage, network monitoring, network management, voice and video communications, virtualisation, cloud.

Siphon Networks was established in 2009 as a systems integrator supporting service providers to launch innovative cloud telephony services through a single, integrated and centralised platform. While working with service providers across the European region, Siphon has accumulated skill sets and experience in delivering cloud telephony services. It is supporting customers in their move towards delivering a complete unified communications experience.

In 2012 Siphon acquired VCOMM, a leading UK distributor, providing an extension of its product portfolio to include customer premise equipment. This has provided Siphon with an end-to-end capability to support all cloud unified communication providers in delivering their service. Following the acquisition of VCOMM, Siphon has extended its portfolio around Microsoft Lync, Skype for Business environment, as well as providing a suite of video and collaboration solutions. Siphon solutions include cloud infrastructure, unified communication cloud services, video and collaboration, Microsoft unified communication, unified communication distribution, field engineering, and technical support.

Nuvias regional vendor partners include the following:

Black Duck, HID, Infocyte, Malwarebytes, Netskope, Mimecast, AirVM, Allied Telesis, Jetnexus, Unitrends, Tintri, Nokia Networks, ProLabs, Mellanox Technologies, Lifesize.

Globally Nuvias vendor partners fall into three principal categories as mentioned below:

Advanced networking

Aerohive Networks, Brocade, Ingate, Macom, Mellanox Technologies, Microsemi, Nokia, Prolabs, Riverbed, Smartoptics, Talari

Security

Ctera, Opentext, A10, Allot Communications, Arbor Networks, Avecto, Barracuda, Blackduck, Checkpoint, Corer, Fortinet, HID, Kaspersky, Kemp, KnowBe4, Link11, Malwarebytes, Palo Alto Networks, Vasco, Symantec, Tenable Network Security, Thales, Threat Track, Trustwave, Vormetric, Watch Guard, Unitrends

Unified communication

Astra, Audio Codes, Broadsoft, Counterpath, Dubber, Extrahop, Jabra, Lifesize, Monda Go, Plantronics, Plenom, Polycom, Revolabs, Snom, Sonus, Yealink


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