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View from the channel

Craig Pratt, Regional Sales Director, CMYK

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

A: I joined CMYK in January 2021 with the remit to help set up and establish a new operation in the North of England. So the past 12 months has been an exciting journey so far here at CMYK.

Having previously worked at one of the region’s largest firms for 12 years prior to its change in ownership, it helped me build a solid understanding and knowledge of our industry. This in turn has helped form strong relationships with organisations across our region and beyond. Our focus in 2021 was the drive to establish CMYK as a brand in the North of England and build on the wider group strategy and successes. We’re in a great position looking ahead. With our continued focus, combined with the capabilities and skillset we have at CMYK, we will only grow as a region, especially as businesses look to partner with an agile, current, dynamic and forward-thinking provider of workplace technologies.

Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

A: We have seen strong demand in our managed IT services and hosted communications offerings. CMYK has built an exceptional reputation as a leader in the IT space, so the business was in a great position at the beginning of the pandemic when clients required assistance to deploy to home-working, or looked for guidance on adopting a more fluid / hybrid way of working. Unlike a lot of our peers founded in the world of print, CMYK has decades of experience in IT services with the agility, infrastructure and resources to react instantly to the operational requirements pressed upon clients when the pandemic arrived. Managed print and document workflow continues to remain steady, with extremely strong growth across the North East of England.

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

A: The past 12 months has been a steep learning curve for me personally, having come from a predominately print and document workflow-related background to then embrace and understand the wider agile portfolio of solutions we provide at CMYK has been a big change. That said, the support and skillset of the team at CMYK is truly outstanding, we all work together to support one another with a single goal in mind and that’s to provide excellent service and value to our clients.

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

A: The biggest challenge which has always been a constant, is continuing to drive the business forward, continuing to evolve and gather sound understanding of the wider landscape and direction of our industry.

We operate in an already competitive marketplace which has been driven predominantly by price for some time, so we need to continue to showcase and demonstrate our expertise and that ‘edge’ we have that delivers tangible value to our clients. In the past year we have seen a lot of MPS businesses attempting to diversify into the IT and comms space, this is something you can’t master overnight and may present a challenge in the future.

Q: Could vendors and distributors do more to help you overcome them? And if so, what?

A: CMYK has long standing partnerships with vendors and distributors. We have regular dialogue with our partners and they are continuously supporting us to achieve our goals. We are an independent, nimble business which is continuously exploring and understanding our marketplace. We always take the time to listen to our partners when we see value in a proposition.

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

A: I honestly wouldn’t change a thing, I’m delighted with our journey to date. It’s been extremely hard work but at the same time very rewarding. The support from everyone at CMYK and our networks has been overwhelming and I’m extremely excited to see what the future holds..