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View from the channel

Toby Hales, CSO, United Business Group

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

A: In short – excellent! We are two years into a robust three-year organic growth plan. We have already exceeded the three-year target resulting in three-fold growth. The future is looking extremely positive.

Q: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

A: The pandemic created and sped up the demand for change, particularly around IT security, mobility and the hybrid workplace. Coming through that period we have seen sustainability and ESG at the forefront of business policies and objectives. Our existing and prospective customers demand to work with a partner that can deliver all of the above both ‘today’ and for the future.

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

A: For us, new opportunities have predominantly grown from our IT services where we have seen the need to evolve our offering to customers. Through acquisitions we have been able to grow this area of our business including taking on new technical expertise, customers and premises.

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

A: Staying ahead of the competition and remaining agile are two of the biggest challenges which come to mind. Continuously introducing new products, services and subscription models in an extremely fast-paced industry takes expertise, logistical planning and tenacity to be successful.

The challenge of making the right decision against the backdrop of unpredictable world events (i.e., COVID!) has ensured that we have kept agile as a business.

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

A: We are fortunate enough to work with some excellent partners who are very supportive, but as a growing business we will always demand more! If pushed for an answer I’d say consistency is key, we need to move away from the ad-hoc approach in favour of a pre-determined ‘agreed’ joint strategy.

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

A: It may be a cliché but I’m incredibly happy in my role here at United, so I’ll have to give a cop out answer… A faster commute into London!