Nick Offin

Life in the Channel: Dynabook’s Nick Offin on the Toshiba rebrand, new partner programmes and more

Dynabook’s Head of Sales, Marketing and Operation for Northern Europe talks about his experiences working in the channel and explains the reasons behind the recent company name rebranding.

Tell us a bit about your work history and your current role…

I’ve spent most of my career working in the IT channel for various vendors. For the last five years I have been at Toshiba, rebranded in April 2019 to dynabook. Since 2013, my career at Toshiba has evolved from head of platinum partners and head of managed partner business to head of sales, marketing and operations for Northern Europe.

Before this, I was with Compaq for 10 years, going from managing partner sales to channel director, and I also spent four years working at Dell directing all channel related activity in their emerging markets.

In my role, I deal with the UK and Ireland, as well as all the Nordic countries, and managing our channel partners is a huge part of my job as they are so vital to our business.

There’s a skill to harnessing the power of the channel to drive business growth, done collaboratively it will put you on the right path for achieving your business goals.

Almost two decades of experience has taught me that no two channel partners are alike. You need to work together to build a consensus around achievable and relatable goals with the right milestones. Only then can you create a win-win environment that strengthens the relationship between vendor and partner.

What was the idea behind the Toshiba Client Solutions Europe rebrand to dynabook Europe?

In October last year the Toshiba Client Solutions global business was acquired by Sharp. We saw this as a chance to take Toshiba’s heritage and Sharp’s scale and start fresh.

The dynabook brand has existed for 30 years in Japan, but it has been fairly unknown outside of the region. As an industry leader, Toshiba launched the world’s first laptop computer –T1100 in 1985 and followed it up with the world’s first notebook computer – the dynabook J-3100 SS001 in 1989.

By rebranding to dynabook Europe, we mark the beginning of our existence as an exciting autonomous business, whilst also bringing together the joint value propositions of our parent companies, epitomising our rich heritage while representing renewed innovation, investment and scale.

What interesting projects are your team working on at the moment?

We’re committed to growing the business, following the rebrand, my main focus is implementing a new partner programme for our channel in Northern Europe.

We’re reaching out to a much wider channel base than we have done in the last few years and this also means investing in more resource for our channel sales teams. A key part of this under the rebrand is looking at how we invest more money into various channel programmes.

Further to this, I’m keen to drive forward the impetus on the team to regain and expand our education channel programmes as well as the SMB space. These have been key vertical markets for us in the past and as we look to grow now, we’re working with new and longstanding partners to reinvigorate our approach with them.

How does dynabook stand out from other laptop manufacturers in the market?

Well, we have such a rich heritage. dynabook Europe has evolved out of the previous Toshiba business, which is of course, the organisation that invented the laptop. So we can build on this engineering excellence tradition, and as a consequence we still produce the best fit-for-purpose B2B laptop in the marketplace.

For us, the quality and reliability of our products are always front of mind. We have the advantage of an R&D facility that has been built up over a number of years, as well as our own factory where we build all our products. It means we can produce innovative laptops that serve all of our customer’s needs. For example, we are the only laptop manufacturer that has its own built- in BIOS firmware, which provides an added layer of security because it, like the rest of the hardware, which has been created entirely in-house. This also enables us to do our own evaluation testing. We implement military grade MIL testing which looks at variables beyond what normal PC manufacturers account for, including shock and drop tests and various temperature and humidity levels increased or decreased at different speeds.

This is a guarantee to our customers, one which removes the risk of third-party interference that could leave a device more vulnerable to attack.

We’re invested in keeping our channel partners well supplied with product innovations like this.

What are dynabook’s plans for the rest of the year and beyond?

It will come as no surprise that at dynabook Europe, establishing dynabook as a premier brand in the market is our core objective. We’re looking to substantially grow the business in the next year, something I’m confident we’ll be able to do as we have some really exciting new products due to land in the second half of the year (watch this space!). We’re utilising ours and our partner’s heritage to keep this pipeline flowing.

Beyond that we have plans to continue to expand our product offering beyond laptops. Our solutions business explores assisted reality with our dynaEdge smart glasses, as well as developing an IoT strand of the business.

We’re working with channel partners and third party organisations to explore assisted reality applications for security, logistics, and healthcare to develop solutions that will change the way businesses work.

In the next five years I’m looking to not only grow our traditional channel, but also use what we’re hearing from customers and partners, as well as innovations from our team and our parent companies (like Sharp’s developments in 8K cameras and display) to ensure our products stay at the cutting edge.

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