What are your growth plans for 2013?
Our financial year runs consecutively with the academic financial year so it is March to March. This year ending March we are confident of hitting £50m and the next calendar year is going to be an interesting one.
Business is definitely more difficult. We are in a recession, and because a lot of our business is in education and the funding for education has changed, we have seen the growth of free schools. Every month between 12 and 19 free school tenders are being issued, and of the first 15 tenders announced last November, we won five of them. There are more in the pipeline too.
We are also seeing the emergence of more large academies as more schools convert to Academy status. Getting such status means they are free from their local authority and have more money to spend. It also gives them more freedom over what to buy and what services to select. Education is an area in which we are very strong.
For example, this week at BETT we are launching a new cloud-based solution which we believe will be the first cloud solution for education, providing [schools] with a platform with everything they need to create and run a virtual network. It will be modular and schools have a choice how they develop it. We have invested a lot of money in this.
We also have great plans for higher education. We are doing a lot of work with further education colleges and we have been appointed to the new framework and have employed a number of people to the team.
Another sector we are planning to grow is our healthcare/NHS business. We are on the Buying Solutions Framework and healthcare is another growth area for us over the next calendar year.
Also, 10 per cent of our business is commercial and I am planning to grow that as well. Once we have secured our place on all the frameworks, we will probably focus on the corporate market and my next step is to get a corporate team up and running in the next calendar year. This means recruitment.
Do you think Windows 8 will help organisations with their IT refresh?
Windows 8 tablets are definitely a growth area. Microsoft has launched the Surface, but it is more for consumers. However, the Windows 8 tablets from manufacturers such as HP, Lenovo and Toshiba are going to be popular.
People are talking about BYOD and we have been working with a number of schools on BYOD schemes and acadamies are refreshing with tablets and wanting to upgrade their current ICT.
What do you think will happen with the economy this year?
We are in a recession and business is tougher, particularly in the public sector. But the funding in education is still there - there is not as much money as there used to be, but it is still there. People are having to use money wisely and cloud services will enable schools to spend money differently.
I do not think we are suddenly going to come out of it, but then again I do not think it is as bad as everyone talks about. We have to do things better, but with less money. However, there is still business up for grabs.
We still have plans to grow and I am feeling very optimistic about the future.
• This is the first in a series of short interviews with UK VAR/integrator chiefs carried out by editor Sara Yirrell.
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