ePages has a lot planned for 2010. The company wants to grow in many areas and markets. As new Vice President of Sales since November, Sören von Varchmin is now responsible for this. In November of last year, the native-born Wuppertaler moved from the management of Parallels – the leading company for virtualisation and automation software – to the ePages headquarters in Hamburg.
The ePages blog had the opportunity for a personal interview with the well-known hosting and cloud services insider. What does the new head of the ePages sales team have planned for the future?
Hello Sören. Please introduce yourself.
Gladly. As VP of sales, I manage the strategic expansion of our hosting and partner network which we use to address our end customers. Before starting at ePages, I was VP of SaaS & Service Providers International at Parallels. I was responsible for the build-up and expansion of the "Parallels Ecosystem", a portfolio of cloud service offers that Parallels made available specifically for hosting providers.
To understand your background we should talk briefly about Parallels. What is Parallels? What is their field of business?
Parallels is one of the leading companies in the world for virtualisation and automation software. It optimises computing for users, companies and service providers for all important hardware operating systems and virtualisation platforms. For example, the use of Parallels software gives hosting providers the optimal utilisation of computer capacities with virtually dedicated servers or shared hosting offers.
Why did you decide to switch from Parallels to ePages?
ePages is moving in a market with enormous growth potential and developed the right concept very early on in order to establish itself as market leader. Our strength is the network of service providers, ERP and implementation partners. And we will focus on its expansion.
As in the past, we are not interested in selling or renting licences directly to end customers. Instead, we develop new products and services that make it even easier for our partners to integrate an online shop service into their product portfolio. For example, via our Whitelabel platform, even small hosting providers will be able to offer their customers professional shop systems even more easily and without high investment costs. And do this under their own brand.
We also continue to adapt our product range to the needs of our providers and their customers. Up to now, we have focused on two segments above all: With our shared-hosting offers for the mass market, merchants were able to easily and inexpensively enter into the world of online business. With the enterprise shop systems sold by project partners, very specialised and individualised shops can be created. Our new product ePages Flex now closes the gap between these two offers and gives the customers of our providing partners an option to let their shop grow with new features step-by-step.
What's important to me is that we not only concentrate on winning new partners but that we also work a making our ePages providers even more successful with new, individual services. One example of this is our "ePages Design & Consult" service which we offer to interested online merchants through our hosting providers. If a merchant decides on a Design & Consult offer, our specialists handle the designing and setting up of that customer's shop.
In this way, we create a true win-win situation for all parties involved: online merchants, hosting providers and our company. Because our success grows with the success of every online merchant who chooses to use ePages.
ePages is a provider of Cloud Services, a topic that is on everyone's lips. How do you see this market?
From my own experience, I'm certain that our branch – especially Cloud Services – will experience strong growth. My prognosis is that this will affect two areas in particular: On the one hand, collaboration solutions as further development of e-mail as well as e-commerce systems that make possible the entry into e-commerce for the mass market. We apply ePages here.
In this regard, we focus on keeping the entry hurdles as low as possible, particularly for small hosting providers. In future, providers have the choice. They can either purchase our pay-as-use licence and sell these to their end customers without risk. Or they decide to profit from the higher discount rates from the very beginning by going for a monthly minimum purchase amount. With the money they save, they can plan and execute significantly more effective marketing activities.
A further example that I'm convinced of and where we have enormous growth potential are the ERP and CRM areas. From my experience at Parallels, I can say that one of the most desired enhancements of providers of these systems is the integration to an e-commerce solution. ePages can supply this and can develop an incredibly huge market with it. We've already made the first step through our cooperation with SAP and our new product ePages for SAP Business One.
Let's speculate briefly about the near future. Where do you see ePages at the end of 2010?
We'll get started this year expanding our position. This includes, above all, the expansion of our product portfolio and our services that I spoke about earlier. When we talk about the expansion of our partner network, I see two opportunities for us in the near future. First, we will expand our presence in Europe. We are already well positioned with European hosting providers. Nonetheless, I still see a number of countries in which we can still strengthen our market position.
Moreover, we will test additional channels in 2010. I'm thinking here of a cooperation with logistics providers, yellow pages providers as well as, and this is very important – ERP providers who, together with ePages, would like to make e-commerce possible for their customers.
And what do you expect from 2010 privately?
I'm looking forward to working in the new team. Especially since I have known most of the members of the management team for many years already. During my time at Parallels over the last several years, I have frequently worked closely with ePages and looked after mutual customers.
To be honest, I'm looking forward to the move to Hamburg with my family. After having lived already in Bremen, Frankfurt, Singapore, Tokyo, Seattle and Munich, it's finally time for my wife and I and our son to settle down. And as self-confessed Werder Bremen fan I have to say: Where better than in one of the most beautiful cities in the world?
Sören von Varchmin blogs on theWhir.com – the Webhosting Industrie Review – on his european view how the Hosting Business will envolve in the future.
Volker Schwarz studied German, History and Politics at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. From 2004 to 2009 he worked as a freelancer for several marketing and communications companies in Hamburg, including e-commerce companies. Between August 2009 and December 2011, he worked as an online editor at ePages.