When Marianne Nickenig, Vice President Networking & Collaboration EMEA, attended the Extreme Networks’ Virtual Partner Conference, she realised it was about more than just winning an award.

Last week I had the great pleasure of attending Extreme Networks’ Virtual Partner Conference, an experience made all the more gratifying when Westcon EMEA was given the Momentum Distributor of the Year – International award!

Winning an accolade is always worthwhile, but the event itself gave me pause for thought. The award may have been in recognition of the company’s success at growing momentum and driving performance in what has been a challenging year but, more importantly, it is a testament to the hard work our international team have put in while also highlighting the role our partners play in our success.

In the past, Westcon has worked traditionally with large partners, managing project-based business, but 2020 was the year when we increased our focus on working at mid-market level with emerging partners – or as we like to call them, ‘momentum partners’.

Our work with momentum partners gave us a real chance to apply our experience and insight to the mid-market, and, I’m pleased to say, drive excellent results. In 2020 we saw a significant increase in the number of EMEA transacting partners we work with, along with a 50% increase in revenue, which underlines the increasingly important part these diverse partners play in the channel ecosystem. After all, the smaller size of mid-market businesses means they are capable of changing direction more reactively, adapt more aggressively, innovate more flexibly and potentially generate outsized investment returns – all of which are huge advantages in the current climate.

Needless to say, the events of 2020 have had a profound impact on our industry – some changes are still ongoing and will no doubt reshape the channel in the months and years ahead. Companies will need to become more agile in adapting to change and responding to rapidly evolving customer demand. If we are to maintain the momentum we’ve worked so hard to achieve, collaboration will be key, and the need to invest in the right partnerships will be a priority.

In a year when countless businesses have experienced widespread disruption and the concept of social distancing has become the norm, we have learnt the value of keeping our partners close. That is why the key takeaway from this award is that we should continue to grow and nurture our network of partners. Long may it continue!