Now in its 20th year, distributor Blue Solutions has hailed its shift from a transactional licencing model and moved into the security space, which now accounts for 75 per cent of its business.
Speaking to CRN, Blue Solutions' co-founder and director Mark Charleton (pictured above) said he started the business in 1995 building bespoke PCs, then moved into selling Microsoft software such as Windows Server and Office, and is now focused on managed services providers (MSPs) and the security space.
"We have gone from dealing with system builders, through to VARs and now to MSPs. Today you don't find many system builders; there aren't that many people who build bespoke PCs. We saw that model deteriorating over the years so we looked to do something about it," Charleton said.
He added that security now accounts for about three quarters of the firm's business.
In 2008 Berkshire-based Blue Solutions ran into difficulties following the financial crisis which led to a reduction in headcount, but Charleton said the distributor is now recruiting again after it switched its business model.
"I guess 2008 was the peak for a lot of people. I was at a Microsoft event and the first thing we were asked was 'who has turned off the tap?' As the banking crisis started to kick in, a lot of people started to notice it, so we reduced our headcount by around 50 per cent," he said.
"But we are quite dynamic and agile, so we were able to react very quickly to that, and we are now building the headcount back up and have done quite a lot of hiring this year."
One of the people Charleton has recently brought in is Robin Vann, who joined Blue Solutions as non-executive director in January, and helped spur the move to security.
"Mark [Charleton] has a great history in innovation and there are a lot of things they have been early to market with, and I guess they brought me in to take a look at the business to figure out where it goes in the medium to long term," Vann said.
"I looked at what we had with our skillset in Blue Solutions and how it all fitted together and I then started to matrix that with where the white space – the open space – is in the market. We have a strong contingent of MSPs and quite a strong experience in the security space and then [we are] putting those two together and figuring out what the resellers needs to serve more of their customers.
"Our strategy is all our growth comes from security and the other products remain as a sort of sustain," he said.
Vann said Blue Solutions hopes to differentiate itself from the competition by focusing on the value the distributor can add in the security market. He also said he is looking to help transition a number of resellers into MSPs.
In recent weeks Blue Solutions has signed up a trio of security vendors, in the shape of content security vendor CensorNet, anti-malware vendor Malwarebytes and anti-virus player Bitdefender. Vann indicated that four or five more security vendors could be signed up later this year.
The distributor is also partnered with Symantec and Trend Micro.
Charleton would not go into detail, but said privately held Blue Solutions saw revenues "fairly flat" last year but claimed profits were up.
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