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View from the channel

Joachim Sturmhoefel, Managing Director, SEH Technology

Q: How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?

A: Business is better than it was 12 months ago. During this time, we have made a number of changes to our company and its operations. Firstly, COVID-19 meant that all our employees moved to working from home, where possible. We made sure that our support team could continue operating as normal and offered the highest level of customer service. In addition, our USB Device Servers also enabled remote access to relevant DUTs (devices under test) from the supporters’ home-based offices, which meant that customers could be optimally supported and tests could also be run securely and centrally (DUTs from the customer remain securely and centrally in the company).

At the same time, for our purchasing and procurement team, we established a short-term parallel supply chain to optimise component procurement and availability. Our team also investigated possibilities for external board assembly to meet the increased demand for our UTN products. This was especially important as the dongleserver products continued to be in great demand by customers looking to build their home office strategy. Overall, we are pleased to say that our customers did not experience any difference in product availability, support, quality and availability compared to pre-COVID times, and we’re looking forward to continuing this success in the future.

Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand? 

A: We are experiencing the strongest demand for our solutions that are suitable for remote working. Our dongleserver Pro and dongleserver Pro MAX for example, ensure that USB dongles are available over a network, allowing customers to access software from home and stay productive in the long-term. With SEH’s USB devices and dongle servers, clients working remotely can securely access and use all required USB devices as if they were connected locally. This encrypted point-to-point connection between the remote worker and the USB device can be assigned dynamically and automatically. Our customers can also request access to a USB device among themselves. Once this device is released by the person using it, it is automatically passed on to the next in line. Secure, flexible and cost-saving use of USB devices between employees is ensured and transparent use of devices by employees on site and by employees working from home is enabled.

Q: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities? 

A: As we move into the second half of 2021, our operations will continue to work towards our high standards regarding product development and customer support. We don’t expect that there will be a real ‘post-COVID’, so instead we are monitoring the market and evaluating customer requirements, especially due to ever-changing working environments. Our team has also continued to focus on new products, in line with customer demands, with the aim of optimising the procurement, purchasing and production side of the business. This year we have introduced two new products, the utnserver Pro and printserver ONE. 

The utnserver Pro allows users to access all types of USB devices over a network. As a plug & play solution, customers can integrate the device server into their network and connect their USB devices to its USB ports. With printserver ONE, in turn, customers can simply add a network interface to existing printers and multifunction devices. For devices with an existing network connection, a second independent interface is then even available. By integrating all printers and multifunction devices via the printserver ONE into the network environments, the print output devices can be managed centrally for improved flexibility. The printserver ONE also supports authentication and certificate management, as well as IPsender protection which allows domain owners to publish a list of IP addresses or subnets that are authorised to send information for printing. What’s more, in particularly secure and sensitive environments, the printserver ONE can also be integrated via IPSec.

Q: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today? 

A: One of the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today, relates to multi-domain control and virtual networking. These trends are part of a wider shift in the network space, as data centres continue to move into cloud or hybrid networks. This is especially prevalent as 2021 has brought further changes in the way businesses operate remotely and how employees can access data from home.

Q: If you could change one aspect of your job what would it be and why? 

A: Effective collaboration can be challenging for organisations of all types – whether it’s a start up, or a multinational company with employees across the globe, strong communication and teamwork is crucial to achieving goals and growing the business. At SEH Technology, we are always working to promote and encourage cross collaboration, bringing our people together across different countries, cultures and departments. Whilst working from home, we have had to adapt to the ways in which we collaborate, and I am hugely looking forward to returning to the office to reconnect with the team and continue accomplishing success.