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Making waves: Why specialisation is driving Wavelink's growth

Making waves: Why specialisation is driving Wavelink's growth

Increased headcount and geographical focus feed into its growth ambitions in the months ahead as the distributor stays laser focused on its specialist play.​

Credit: Photo 11627830 © Joshua Rainey |

For the past quarter of a century, Melbourne-headquartered specialist distributor Wavelink has thrived within its services approach across both vendor and partner types. 

Increasing headcount and geographical focus feed into its growth ambitions in the months ahead as the distributor stays laser-focused on its specialist play.  

Wavelink launched its operations in 1998 with a handful of partners specialising in wireless and wireless communications. The portfolio has since morphed into security, networking, mobility, unified communications, and applications. 

The past three years in particular have seen the distributor reach new growth milestones, increasing headcount from 12 to about 50 staff, with an expanded focus on categories and establishing a dedicated Connected Health business unit.

“The business has grown and transcended in different ways from what we did, and that makes up part of our ability to adapt and change,” Wavelink CEO Ilan Rubin told ARN. 

“We have intimacy, knowledge and a drive to build out the market, which is the uniqueness of our business.”

Rubin credits its strong relationships with vendors such as Fortinet, Spectralink, Medigate, Alcatel Lucent, Olinqua and Stryker, as part of the key to its success in maintaining its unique approach to providing dedicated services and support.

“We act as an extension of the vendor as opposed to just moving products,” Rubin said. “Vendors want distribution that’s a lot more entrenched with enablement for partners and reducing the load.” 

Providing the full gamut of services around marketing, enablement, sales and support, impacts the relationship with partners and in turn their ability to support customers. 

Rubin said the partner community has grown considerably in the past couple of years as it caters for tier 1 to tier 3 type partners. 

“We’re not the same as every other distributor and we work towards areas that will differentiate us. You’ve got to be different, otherwise, you become the same as the behemoths,” Rubin said. 

“What a vendor is looking for is different now. The right vendors are looking for distributors to get heavily involved in the market so they can focus on growth on the top end.

“They’re looking for distribution to pick up a lot more than just moving the box whether that’s through enablement, marketing or support.”

Ilan Rubin (Wavelink)Credit: Wavelink
Ilan Rubin (Wavelink)

IP is people 

In the next 12 months, Rubin expects to continue to grow its headcount and along with that, increase revenue. 

“We’ve got a rolling three-year plan where we look at what the revenue will look like, the product set to support that and the services attached to it,” Rubin said. “We’re building the foundation that enables us to deal with growth. 

“As long as you identify where that growth is going to come from, a lot of it is also in lockstep with what the vendors are doing, it’s more about how we execute and assist them to grow. And that enables us to grow, we’re very much that extension of the vendor’s arm.

“Our methodology is really simple, people dealing with people. Our IP is our people. Unless you’ve got the right people in place, the rest is just irrelevant. It’s about having a really good team that knows where we’re heading.”

Continuing to refine its processes internally and externally to improve on partner experience, is also top of mind as Wavelink continues to invest in its headcount, particularly at the middle management level to help build pathways of growth within the organisation. 

“This is about striving for excellence and continuous improvement; that's the unique methodology of the business,” he said. 

One cornerstone of Wavelink’s ambition is to also grow its New Zealand presence, which it has dabbled into through its Connected Health unit, and also in other geographies outside of NSW and Victoria. Wavelink also has a presence in South Australia and Queensland and is also seeking growth in Western Australia and the ACT. 

“It’s also dependent on where the vendors want to grow with more capability and services,” Rubin said. 

Services touch

As the market continues to shift so does the emphasis on differentiation. 

“As it transcends, it’s not just the quote. For example with NTT, we work with them closely in the healthcare sector because we’re a trusted advisor and they know we’ll support them because we’re part of a holistic solution that they’re offering to customers,” Rubin pointed out. 

“They really value our ability to seek and identify vendors that will be used by customers that will be supported all the way through because in lots of cases, they’re just ancillary vendors.”

Rubin highlighted the security sector as an area that it was keen to continue to build upon. 

“We’re going to be building the security component with vendors that are non-competing, complementary and also have growth aspirations over the next five years,” Rubin said. 

“We want to deal with a vendor that is present, challenged and growing. It’s a common thread where vendors are looking for services and business development-type work. If the vendor is looking for those types of services and they fit in with our strategy and vendor profile and product, then we’ll be a good fit.”

Rubin spotted a big challenge for partners laid within the services component due to a shortage of skills.

“Many are struggling with obtaining the right skills. We see some big opportunities in how you match up capabilities, so the customer still achieves the outcome, and so does the vendor and partner,” he said. 

One way to tackle the resources issue, Wavelink has been involved in an initiative in South Australia, working with TAFE SA and Fortinet, creating a pathway for students to obtain certifications and matching employment with partner organisations. 

"You can only do these types of activities if you’re focused and that’s a balance we’ve got to strike as we grow and keep that intimacy, so we don’t become like everyone else," he said. 

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