Azzurri’s new chief executive claims the unified communications (UC) market has finally reached tipping point, after the integrator posted a double-digit hike in annual profit.
The privately held voice, data and mobility specialist saw pre-tax profits rise 28 per cent to £11.5m for its fiscal year to 30 June, despite revenues falling six per cent to £141.1m.
Mark Quartermaine, who joined Azzurri as chief executive in the summer, was in bullish mood, revealing that the Cisco, Avaya and Mitel partner was on course to grow both its top and bottom line in 2010. Quartermaine said Azzurri has clinched several new UC contracts during his tenure, including with insurance giants Hastings and Liverpool Victoria, Cornwall Council, the Bank of England and fashion retailer Hollistor.
“As often happens with new technologies, UC was overhyped early in its lifecycle but I believe it is reaching tipping point,” he told ChannelWeb. “You can get more bandwidth for a lower cost than ever and Microsoft’s platform is maturing so desktop integration is becoming easier. More CIOs are now talking about how, rather than whether, they want to get there.”
Quartermaine also argued that Azzurri had an edge over acquisitive rivals such as 2e2, Alternative Networks and Daisy, having completed its M&A spree four years ago.
“One way to look at it is that Azzurri is ahead of the game. [Daisy, 2e2 and Alternative] are trying to build out portfolios not unlike what we have now by filling out elements they are missing in voice, data, mobile and call centre,” he said.
“We have been through that pain and have come out the other side. We are in a unique position to offer an end-to-end UC solution and need to exploit that position.”
Quartermaine attributed the rise in profits to a combination of “taking costs out” by reducing headcount and supplier costs and tinkering with Azzurri’s sales mix.
He also said Azzurri will move rationalise its vendor base. “Customers come to us because we are hardware and network independent," he said. "But it is a cost to me to manage eight different vendors in the data centre so we will rationalise that down to three or four.”
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