Kcom is back in growth mode and will mark itself apart from the competition by moving faster and being more flexible than its rivals, according to its new boss.
Stephen Long (pictured) began his role as managing director of the managed comms outfit, which is the national B2B arm of Hull-based telecoms firm KCOM Group, on Monday.
Kcom, which used to be known as Affiniti, has spent recent years streamlining its operations and exiting low-margin business, in 2010 hiving off several support contracts to Phoenix IT Group.
The group's full-year results are due on 31 January but for the half year, Kcom's sales slipped 6.9 per cent to £137.5m.
But Long, who joins from rival Fujitsu, said the focus will now be on top-line growth.
"My job will be to grow the business," he told CRN. "The bottom line has responded well, but we need to get the top line moving as well. I cannot say we don't need to do any more streamlining, but my focus is outward-looking to customers."
With family ties in Hull, Long has known the brand throughout his career and both competed against and partnered with Kcom during his stint helming Fujitsu's Private Sector division.
"Part of why I joined Kcom is that it is a UK-based organisation that can get close to customers, which gives it an edge on the cumbersome corporates I have been used to," he said.
"Being more flexible and moving faster is at the heart of what Kcom does. This could be in terms of getting proposals to customers quickly and following that up with a call – that is more difficult in some of the more global corporates."
Long earmarked cementing ties with top customers as a priority.
"There are some customers that we just work well with and we want to get closer to them and manage more of their communications services," he said.
"In my first four days here I have met 40 to 50 people and it is clear that we have some very capable people who are straightforward and do not have a political agenda. But we need to leverage them to overcome some resource constraints."
Kcom had been without a permanent boss since Paul Renucci resigned in December 2010. Long hailed the job Kcom Group executive chairman Bill Halbert and CFO Paul Simpson have done helming the division on an interim basis.
"The leadership team I have inherited has been handpicked by some very capable people," he said.
Long added that the market backdrop would continue to be challenging in 2013.
"Customers are taking a lot more time to approve business," he said. "Where previously proposals would go to the board and be rubber-stamped, they are now coming back with questions and I do not think that will change in 2013.
"We need to be on top form to ensure we end up ahead of our competitors."
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