For this month’s webinar, we were joined by three experts with over 60 to 70 years’ experience between them, and who all work for fast-growing Cloud organisations and who have experienced backgrounds across service operation and product sales. They discussed their roles in their companies and with the resurrection of opportunities that have arisen due to the relaxing of lockdown, alongside the challenges their businesses have faced in the last 12 months, and how it has affected the way they interact with other companies and how they’re differentiating themselves.
Bryn Morgan: head of business development at Lanware, which is an MSP that specialises within the financial service space,
Dan Fearnley: leads the professional services and consultancy at Six Degrees which is a Managed Service Business that specialises in Cloud and security.
Joel Berwitz: chief revenue officer at Boxxe which is a technology solutions provider to corporate businesses, and was bought in for a big rebrand that they had two years ago
One of the major challenges all businesses have faced within the past year is the Covid-19 pandemic. From a business development view, there is nothing better than face-to-face meetings, as you can get a better sense of customer characterisations, and how employees interact within their respective companies. Understanding people’s cultures outside of the office space is a newly faced challenge, therefore, and paired with the inability to hold client meetings has meant covid has taken away personalisations of the working environment.
The convenience of being able to hold meetings freely and in a controlled environment is also a trouble with working remotely, and with the work from home order put in place last year has meant a decline of these social interactions, and face-to-face meetings have now become a novelty.
Working practices have similarly been thrown upside down, from traditional ways of working in the office, to working remotely from anywhere. When you are changing your organisation from being predominantly reselling to a more solution-orientated, it is a larger challenge working from home and trying to replicate the office environment that always enables learning and development.
At Six Degrees, work 50% feel apprehensive about coming back into the office and 47% want to keep working flexibly and remotely. This is evident of the fear that working in an office environment has been sparked as a result of the pandemic and may show a steady decline in this certain way of working, which for corporations, is a worry.
On the other hand, there are pros of working from home: You find there can be more available time to speak to customers and employees, as they are all readily available from the use of laptops and video chat. These ways of communicating and the technology available have become a valuable asset and have eased the challenges with working from home, and once again allow people to continue their working abilities.
Moreover, as businesses do not want to lose the relationships with the customer as that is key, and from a recruitment point of view, you can get good quality staff when you aren’t dependant on location and them coming into the office on a weekly daily basis, which is another pro of working from home.
Return to work
At Lanware, they are offering varying start times for those returning to work, and options of when to come into the office to ease the comeback. Their employees are willing to come back into the office on a 2-3 day basis, and they are seeing how that goes for the next couple of months.
Boxxe are changing so much with or without Covid: Their goals are aiming to solve customers’ problems sustainably in the technology field, and one of their most recent cultural changes was to hire outside of the York area, not only to widen their workforce, but post-covid has meant they have now been allowed to do this because everything is driven now by hiring people who can work from anywhere. Moreover, for mental health and wellbeing, working outside of their homes is encouraged for their employees, along with going to local coffee shops to work in a safe and sustainable area. At Boxxe, they also add safety measurements and KPIs to check where their employees are working from and how efficiently they are working outside of the office, whereby each role has a set of KPIs and objectives which allows managers to evaluate productivity levels.
How do you differentiate yourselves in this market and how is it a challenge to grow?
Every business approaches growth and provides services in a similar way. The market has become similar from the advent of Cloud, so knowing the market is the most important thing! Being good at knowing what you are providing is also key, known as a White Glove Service, and it is that touchpoint with the customer the provider, and there is an importance placed on being a tightly knit and efficient team.
When the team knows what they’re good at, reinvention is significant in the growth of a company, and changing aspects of how they conduct themselves to promote productivity. ‘End to End’ services, which is when a company delivers a complete functional solution from beginning to end, is the most efficient when looking at how to give their customers’ businesses more valuable by doing everything around data and by making that a part of their businesses.
There is a difficulty with differentiating from other companies, as everyone is trying to do the same thing, and in order to succeed, you need to have good customer experiences. However, Scaling is also an important aspect because the differentiator between Cloud MSP businesses is the employees: When all companies are selling the same technologies, it is about how you engage with customers, and it is important you know your growth and stabilised areas.
The differentiator is the people, and when you have people who believe in the business and culture, you will be winning when it comes to how well your employees implement and engage with customers. Therefore, there is significance with companies to protect the core but grow the new: oftentimes than not, legacy is the leading factor when differentiating from other businesses.
To conclude, the discussion surrounding niche business markets was explored, and as there is a need to specialise in a vertical or number of verticals, knowing them extremely well needs to be in order to enable success and beat your competitors. From a business perspective, you want the greater multiplier at the end, where you’d get 8x for it, whereas if a business tries to supply high standards of lots of different sectors, you’ll find you only get half of the efficiency compared to a stricter market.
Overall, the challenges first proposed by the pandemic meant a lot of businesses had to adapt to change, however, as we learn to adapt, there have become benefits with the current working strategies, and working from home has come with its benefits. We’ve got plenty more fantastic industry experts lined up for 2021 to take part in our webinar series. If you’d like to find out more or to get involved as a speaker yourself then please get in touch with Robert Taylor.