Mid-size Lancashire-based provider Daisy is pushing the boat out to customers in hopes of expanding its managed services business across an ever-wider selection of market segments, if its second annual customer event in Oxfordshire was anything to go by.
Set over two days against the splendid backdrop of Heythrop Park, near Enstone, in David Cameron's political constituency, "Daisy: Wired? 2014" invited about 150 customers and partners to hear about the trends the support, hosting and services provider believes will accelerate the green shoots of growth during the
next few years.
Matthew Riley, chief executive and founder of Daisy, said the firm is now offering services across the WAN, LAN, and mobile - as well as its traditional voice - segment. Managed services and support, as flagship offerings, mean the provider is aiming to eat the lunch of an ever-broader range of rivals as the market as a whole continues to converge.
While sales pitches per se were ostensibly sidelined in favour of presentations focusing on the buzzwords of 2014 from mobile to big data, the subtext was always that Daisy is the perfect partner to choose if you're an organisation hoping to bloom on the back of the UK economic recovery.
Asked if Daisy saw opportunity abroad, Riley told attendees: "BT still has 52 per cent of the market. So we still have plenty of opportunity to move in the UK."
It would be foolish not to take advantage of that opportunity, with the mid-market a key focus ripe for the taking, he said - although Riley (pictured, right) similarly wouldn't rule out expansion abroad in future.
The mid-market had been ignored, he explained, in large part, particularly when it comes to assistance from outside sources, such as funding. This is where Daisy is targeting its skill set, Riley confirmed.
His views were echoed by keynote speaker John Cridland, director general of business advocacy group the CBI, who said that its research shows mid-size companies with perhaps £10m, £20m, or even £100m market capitalisation had basically been abandoned by the government - even though these were the firms most likely to become the most powerful commercial engines of growth in future years.
"They don't get any support to take it to the next stage," Cridland said. "Small companies get - in aggregate - a lot, and really large companies don't need it."
There are 10,000 medium-sized companies in Britain, he said, accounting for 63 per cent of the value of the British economy.
Qualities of entrepreneurialism also need to be nurtured in British businesses. For too long, too many companies and innovators have been held back by over-restrictive, risk-averse policies - for example, in procurement programmes.
Government departments have been rewarded, essentially, for awarding projects and contracts to incumbents, rather than a company that was perhaps newer on the scene but doing something innovative that could potentially generate considerable customer benefit, Cridland said.
Although, he noted, all things entrepreneurial and startup-related in the UK have certainly got a lot better. "I don't think we were an entrepreneurial country in the 1970s," he explained.
Just how might Daisy - and the rest of the channel - help these companies grow? According to Daisy's Riley, it's clear that this is going to tap into many trends being seen across the public and private sector landscapes as the economy continues to recover.
"Technology is going to change the way we [industries, organisations, society] do things in future," Riley said. "Daisy wants to offer one single solution. We don't want to be BT or ee; we want to be different, by offering our customers multiplicity of products - whether it's datacentre, telephony, mobility, WAN, LAN or unified communications."
Organisations want technology - and the technology itself is developing in that direction - to be "smaller, cheaper, and faster".
We are rapidly approaching an era of "ubiquitous computing", said Riley, and channel providers, including Daisy, will profit by helping organisations make the most of that world. It's one where data may be collected anywhere, any time, in unobstrusive ways made possible by the continuing miniaturisation of related technologies, and then processed and presented for the ultimate competitive intelligence.
As partial proof, he pointed to the increasing personalisation of mobile devices, such as smartphones, and the extension of data collection and presentation in real time, to the consumer, through social media.
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