John Trueman, managing director of reseller Servo, gives us a run-down of the company he joined earlier this year.
COMPANY FOUNDED: 1979
PARENT COMPANY: Anglia Telecom Centres
SERVO'S HEADCOUNT: 250
BOARD MEMBERS: John Trueman, managing director; David Jones, sales director; Keith Wragg, finance director; Paul Warner, services director; Nick Badger, operations director; Bill Smith, chairman
SERVO YEAR END: 31 March
LAST YEAR'S TURNOVER: #35 million
AND PROFIT: The figures are still being finalised
RESELLER BASE: Matlock
OTHER OFFICE LOCATIONS: City of London, Harlow, Bristol, Peterborough, Chesterfield
LINES SOLD: Hewlett Packard, Compaq, Toshiba, Apple, Mitsubishi
ACCREDITATION HELD: Compaq systems seller and SP; MCSP; Apple Centre and authorised maintainer; IBM business associate and maintainer; Digital authorised reseller and maintainer; HP value-added reseller; Krone quality installer and warranty provider; Novell authorised systems house; SEO partner; Toshiba authorised reseller and maintainer; Mitsubishi authorised reseller; Citrix gold partner; large account reseller
AWARDS WON: Citrix reseller of the year 1997
KEY ACCOUNTS: Society General, FI Group, Eurodollar (national car rental)
MAIN DISTRIBUTORS: Ingram Micro, Computer 2000, ETC, Westcoast.
MAIN COMPETITORS: SCC, Computacenter, Elcom
THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE SERVO IS GOING TO FACE THIS YEAR: To focus on where we are going and on our customer set. We are doing this already.
THING TO WATCH IN THE NEXT 12 MONTHS: Convergence of the telecoms and IT industries. Computer telephony integration - our current link with Anglia Telecom enhances our ability to bring telecoms know-how to the product.
THE ROLE OF DISTRIBUTORS: We are working with a small number of distributors.
We are not a big believer in logistics, our role is to add value. Resellers can't go to a distribution model unless they're one of the big boys and have the market share. As we're going for medium to large-sized businesses, working with distributors is key to us.
ISSUE THAT WOULD MAKE LIFE EASIER FROM A BUSINESS POINT OF VIEW: Our biggest headache is the skills shortage. We have to take an approach towards investing in staff as the way to get the right people on board and keep them there. This is a general problem in the industry - you have to master this, otherwise you train staff and they move on elsewhere.
HOW TO GET AROUND THE PROBLEM OF SKILLS SHORTAGES: We offer schemes to reward loyalty and these in turn will attract more people on board.
GIVE YOUR OPINION ON SPECULATION THAT MICROSOFT IS TO AXE FOUR OR FIVE OF ITS LARGE ACCOUNT RESELLERS (PC DEALER, 1 JULY): Well, we're certainly not one of them. I'm sure everyone has heard the rumours circulating about Microsoft dropping some of its Lars. I think Microsoft was looking at potentially reducing this number because it is so much easier to work with less Lars, although I have no idea who may be dropped.
Under the Lar scheme, resellers are normally expected to hit sales targets of $1 million per year. But in my opinion, Microsoft is not going to drop these resellers on the basis of unmet sales figures.
Microsoft is looking for service capabilities - it won't axe a Lar with a high level of service capability simply because it doesn't meet its targets. Microsoft is interested in resellers investing in that services capability, the same as we are.
We have had a lot of success over the past few months and are entering Microsoft's new financial year as a Lar.
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