NC: What is the next step towards achieving better profitability in your business?
NS: The single largest factor driving profitability into our business will be improving the quality of the sale to the customer. Forty per cent of your business now needs to be annuity-based – managed services, people and not a volume product. The more we get into the space, the easier it is to achieve better volumes of scale and efficiency. Over the next few months, we will continue to sell on the track which drives benefits for our company. If that means we can’t sell to every customer, then that’s it. No longer can you act like companies used to act pre-GFC – we have to act in our best interest and the customer’s.
TH: The mantra I constantly say internally is the only reason for acquiring a new customer is to sell them a managed service. If I can’t sell that with a monthly view to what that customer is doing, then I’ll trivialise the relationship with that customer because they’re trivialising me.
JW: Increasing profitability in the SMB [100 and under] space will be driven by the vendor and product suites. There is a way at the moment, using cloud, to drive infinitely more margin from the same sale value. It’s repeatable.
CS: We have to make decisions on our businesses where we see profitability. This is part of what makes some businesses tick and some not. There’s investment in services, decisions between cloud and delivering IT internally – as business owners, we have to sit down and work out where we see our future. Do we build infrastructure and provide managed services, or do we do it as a project integration model? If anything comes out of today, I hope all CEOs of vendors read this, take a deep breath, then re-evaluate the way they look at and support their channel, and build partner programs. That is one of our biggest costs, but we need our vendors. We have a buoyant industry ahead and lots of opportunity.
SB: There are many variables on cloud but it is one of the most exciting opportunities out there today and a key one. Leveraging vendor relationships and streamlining those as much as we can is also important, and looking after number one, which is the customer and staff. It’s pretty basic, but it’s all you need to do – key technologies, staff and customers.