Can Nick Tidd make a difference at D-Link?

Nick Tidd is the new D-Link Canada GM as well as its channel chief for North America.

Tidd will get an opportunity to work his magic at D-Link, an opportunity he wasn’t so fortunate enough to have in his last job at 3Com.

CDN still needs to talk to Tidd about this opportunity, but I think it can be a perfect situation for both him and D-Link because they both sort of need each other right now.

D-Link is stuck in a retail funk. For example, they have a Try Before You Buy program, which is great for the Harry Hard Luck or Sally Sob Story type of customers who source their own IT products. But for channel partners who do real business in the SMB or the enterprise these gimmick programs are not taken seriously.

It is this change in perception where Tidd can definitely help. He has the experience and the know-how to change and enhance the market’s view of D-Link and its products.

When you think of enterprise or SMB networking players you do not automatically think of D-Link, but the company is trying to sell more into this space. D-Link has released more than 40 new business solution SKUs from 2007 through 2008.

Hiring Tidd as general manager for D-Link Canada and vice-president of North American channel development is the next step in this evolution process for D-Link.

However, the next big market opportunity for D-Link is in VoIP and unified communications and it is here where Tidd can really help a player like D-Link.

Tidd was able to cobble together a channel network of more than 100,000 worldwide partners for 3Com at a time when everyone wanted Cisco gear. That’s quite impressive, and I believe he can do the same kind of work for D-Link.

The company already has VoiceCenter, which is ideal for small businesses. It’s a phone system with Microsoft Response Point Service Pack 1 aimed at customers with 50 phones or less. This area is the sweet spot in the market and especially in Canada, with more than a million businesses in this segment.

The biggest challenge will be to build on the VoIP business with unified communications. In May, I had a chance to interview J.C. Liao, the D-Link CEO in his headquarters in Taipei and he told CDN that a build-out in unified communications products was a key priority for D-Link.

The margins in unified communications are between 50 and 60 per cent for the company. This margin range nearly approaches Cisco’s average of 70 per cent.

Liao said D-Link will enhance switching capabilities to start to deliver unified communications solutions simply because the profit margins are high. He anticipates that D-Link channel partners can get 50 per cent and higher margins in the SMB market globally.

I think it will be Tidd’s job to execute this and enhance it. This is where the money is and D-Link needs a channel executive such as Tidd to go out and get it.

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