Q: What are your customers most interested in?
A: Buyers are now expecting more from their suppliers in terms of their ability to provide much broader propositions and a wider range of services. Supplier rationalisation is clearly on the agenda and this is driving a different conversation in all of our client and prospective engagements. There is a strong desire from customers to be more agile, whilst retaining high levels of data integrity and security, and to do that they need to transition to more flexible ‘consumption-based’ services and contracts, which is where we are focusing on as a business.
Q: Do clients have the same understanding of industry terms, such as BYOD, MPS or MDS, as we do?
A: I would say that MPS, and to a certain degree MDS, are now mature offerings in the market and some companies are even on their third iteration of these services. So even though our perception might be different, it seems that we have the same understanding of these terms.
The discussion around mobilising workforce has shifted to a point where BYOD has become a more product-centric and small part of it. As such, we now focus more on enabling end-users to access information efficiently and securely.
Q: Where are you seeing most traction at the moment, are there any verticals that are particularly strong?
A: There are certainly an increasing number of active verticals where transformation and the drive for change is more prevalent. However, for me, it is more about the profile of the organisation rather than the vertical they align to. Are they acquisitive? Are they growing or contracting? Is there a new Private Equity investment? These are elements that need to be taken into account so we can offer a solution that fits to their needs. This is the activity I am challenging my sales teams to invest more time in.
Q: When selling MFPs, what are the most popular software solutions you provide and why?
A: Pull printing solutions are almost a default recommendation in any sizeable fleet discussion in both the private and public sectors. The more topical discussion is whether it resides onpremise or in the cloud. This then leads the conversation onto applications for management and security of data.
Q: Where do you get information on the latest products and solutions, and do you feel that the OEMs are doing enough to educate their channel partners?
A: From my point of view, it shouldn’t be the OEMs role to educate their channel partners. Partners have a much better understanding of how a product should be positioned in their portfolio, and how they should educate their staff. This type of education should be revisited on a regular basis to ensure it remains fresh and relevant to the client though. As long as we understand the technical aspects and features of a product then it is up to us to present these as part of the wider proposition.
Q: Is your patch particularly competitive – is it national or local competition that you face?
A: It’s actually increasingly international. We are seeing consolidation on global scale, and not just in our market. Enterprise businesses are looking at their supplier bases and actively looking for opportunities to reduce their costs with respect to resources and the management of non-core ICT infrastructure. This is driving the larger IT and print companies to expand their portfolio of services which, in turn, introduces a different competitive landscape.
Q: How do you spend your week – time on phone, face to face meetings with customers etc.?
A: There can never be enough time spent in front of the customer. Understanding customer issues, market trends within different verticals and receiving direct feedback on our services is crucial to shaping and evolving our strategy. Sadly, I regularly struggle to practice what I preach with a need to service the tsunami of emails that arrive in my inbox on a daily basis.
Q: What would make your job easier?
A: Being able to pause time so I can catch up on emails!