As it emerges from a period of consolidation and change, 3Com is preparing to embark on an expansion phase – and Africa is one of the territories set to benefit most from a new era of building for growth. 

These plans have emerged almost simultaneously with news that the network manufacturer's CEO Edgar Masri has departed the company, to be replaced with Robert Mao, who will be based in China. Ronald Sege will take up the position of president and chief operating office, based in 3Com's Massachusetts headquarters.
3Com is touting its Chinese connections – it owns H3C, the joint venture company formed with Huawei – as one of the key drivers that have enabled its turnaround and vital to its continued growth even as the western world slips into recession.
On the home front, Mike Ansley, vice-president: EMEA at 3Com, tells IT-Online that the EMEA region is divided into 11 territories – and Africa has been the star performer of them all.
In fact, over the last financial year South Africa doubled both revenue and profit while seeing a major increase in headcount.
The new year (beginning June) will see the local operation increasing headcount by a further 45% and making a strategic move out of its current serviced suites and into its own offices.
Among the staff changes will be the promotion of Maurizio Zussa to regional sales manager; and Tracy Lawler to channel account manager.
The channel organisation will be expanded with the appointment of a new integrated channel account manager, a telesalesperson and a distribution manager. Meanwhile, the direct touch sales team will be expanded to five people. The company is also looking to set up a direct presence in the kwaZulu-Natal market.
On the whole, 3Com seems to be beating the recession trends, having posted its sixth profitable quarter in a row.
Ansley points out that, while the networking market in Europe grew about 2% last year, 3Com turned in a healthy 8% growth.
In addition, the company has succeeded in swinging its business from a largely SMB base (36% project; 64% SMB five quarters ago) to a more balanced mix (54% project; 46% SMB now).
"In addition, our pipeline is about five-times what it was just over one year ago," says Ansley.
The company is selling a value proposition of a full product portfolio that is priced well below the opposition. In addition, it has a compelling "green" message.