Jersey-based IT security distributor Softek has trimmed its headcount in a move sources suggest could be connected to its recent loss of a big NHS supply deal.
Until earlier this year, Softek was the sole distributor for the supply of SafeXs secure USB sticks to the NHS via reseller Probrand.
When Probrand bagged the two-year deal in February 2012, it said the contract was for 100,000 drives, and sources suggested it could have been worth a seven-figure sum to Softek, making it one of the St Brelade-based distributor's largest contracts.
But Softek lost control of the deal in March after SafeXs' manufacturer, Ctwo Products, moved to appoint another distributor, Simms International.
According to multiple sources, Softek has made a small number of job cuts in its sales and marketing team in the past few weeks, while technical director Mike Bienvenu departed of his own accord in September. According to his LinkedIn profile, Bienvenu now runs Jersey-based VAR Sigma Group.
"They have made cutbacks in staff to cope with the reduced revenue," said one onlooker, who wished to remain anonymous.
Ctwo Products made the decision to review its distribution strategy after poaching Softek business development manager James Baker to head up its sales efforts in February.
Talking to CRN, Baker said he had initially offered Softek exclusivity but that his former firm was unable to accept the ambitious goals set out under his plans. Simms was then appointed as a second distributor, he said.
"A few things then happened I can't discuss which led to us not working with them at all," Baker explained. "It would have been nice to continue working with them.
"It's always difficult to hear about reductions in the industry, especially at a company you used to work for. I still have some friends there who I'll always look out for and I do sympathise."
Ctwo created SafeXs after previous NHS supplier Kingston end-of-lifed its SafeStick product in 2011, Baker said. It is billed to NHS clients as a successor to SafeStick.
Softek, which works with a range of IT security vendors including McAfee, Sophos and JanusNET, states on its website that it had sold more than one million SafeStick drives.
Baker stressed that Ctwo, which is gearing up to launch version three of SafeXs, now draws the majority of its UK business from outside the NHS, working through about 20 key resellers.
Probrand managing director Peter Robbins claimed that the reseller had to date helped the NHS save over £5m by providing it with SafeXs devices at discounted prices.
"The NHS vertical represents a valuable portion of our growing public sector business and we are committed to providing relevant products at the best price," Robbins said.
Softek declined to comment.
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