Executive Q&A: How Ipanema Technologies Is Moving Into The U.S. Market

Ipanema's Ben Heisler
Ipanema's Ben Heisler

Ben Heisler was appointed senior vice president for sales in the Americas for Ipanema Technologies last week, and he comes to the company's Waltham, Mass., U.S. headquarters with hopes of using the channel to make significant steps into the U.S. market.

Heisler was previously Area Vice President at Zeus Technology, which was acquired by Riverbed, and his hiring follows Ipanema's new partnerships with service providers AT&T and Link America.

Here, Heisler shares his vision for Paris-based Ipanema's future, his thoughts on U.S.-based partnerships, as well as trends in Software-as-a-Service (Saas) and Unified Communications markets.

In April, your CEO said the company was taking significant steps to build out its presence in the U.S. market and it was banking on the channel to fuel its growth. How do you plan on having a growing presence in America?

2014 was mainly about building the foundations here in the U.S. - putting together a core team, learning about the market and so on. 2015 is repeating and enhancing the process.

We learned a lot last year. We now know where we win, why we win and who gets the most value. That last point’s key, and ties into Ipanema's offering. We're the only solution that brings control of increasing IT complexity, guaranteeing business continuity and optimizing IT resources. That's why our key target sectors are retail, transport and logistics, and manufacturing – organizations with large, complex networks for which digital transformation is key for their business growth and success. For them the branch is becoming the hub and they have to be OpenStack, cloud-ready and able to manage a huge number of sites without their telecom costs going through the roof.

Now it’s all about execution and communication.  We are adding to the team and refining our channels with what works.

How will channel partners benefit from the partnerships with AT&T and Link America?

Companies like AT&T can touch every client, but they carry so many tools that the message is often watered down and not quite as powerful.  We see the right partners using relationships with AT&T and the like to get the conversation going and then using my staff or our VARs to ensure the message is tailored and on point for the customer.

Do you see channel partners playing a large role in 2015 compared to 2010? Where and why?

Personally, in North America I think the VAR market is so vast that the term “partners” is simply too broad.

In (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) the channel is very IT savvy and leads more than the manufacturer. In North America the dynamic’s very different, and the manufacturer leads quite a bit. 

I think that’s because there are still so many great ways to make money in IT by just pure resell, with little to no V happening in the VAR.  However, as the market shifts to SaaS and cloud and hosted this and hosted that, I think the channel will need to up their game and become practice-specific to thrive.  I think you are seeing the beginnings of that now, with VARs for VMware, VARs for Office 365 and so on.

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