Altodigital is resolute in its plans to remain independent despite being approached by numerous vendors looking to acquire it, according to its CEO James Abrahart.
The acquisition of Apogee by HP now leaves Altodigital as the largest independent office and technology provider in the UK, the chief exec said.
This takeover followed numerous other examples of print vendors snapping up channel partners to bolster their go-to-market.
Abrahart told CRN that the company has been approached with offers many times by a range of companies.
"We've had lots of approaches over the years," he said. "We've tried hard to stay independent by not having outside investment with the objective to sell. Our objective is to remain independent.
"We are technically the largest independent office technology provider because we don't have a private equity or venture capital company [backing us], so we are always going to be a target in a consolidation market.
"We've got a very large customer base, great customer care and high customer retention rate, so Altodigital is at the top of a lot of shopping lists."
The managed print services provider has also announced a raft of changes to increase its business by 25 per cent in the next two to three years.
However, Abrahart said that the changes were in the pipeline long before the purchase of Apogee by HP.
"It had been in the works for about a year. We tend to work with government and large corporate accounts and we wanted to grow revenues to support the infrastructure that we had built over the last few years," he explained, adding that the ongoing consolidation in the market spurred on the firm's plans.
"The Apogee acquisition is a bit of a game-changer because traditionally HP's distribution model was through resellers and now they are effectively going direct," stated Abrahart.
The purchase will affect the distribution models of Apogee's other large vendor partners, such as Canon and Ricoh, as the reseller was bought to distribute HP products, he added.
The chief exec also confirmed that the company plans to grow both organically and via acquisitions to become a unified comms provider.
In order to expand into this area, it is also investing in its customer care and sales academy to diversify the services it offers clients, and plans to add to its portfolio in the near future.
"We see some great growth opportunities in cross-selling into other sectors, such as Voice over IP, and some acquisitions in those sectors - not just copiers, but infrastructure providers too," Abrahart stated.
He said that core copier companies and those specialising in network services are also of interest to Altodigital.
"We have a large, diverse customer base. SMEs are under a lot of pressure and we help them with the struggles they have with software and network issues that come along, more so than with copier and printer issues."
As part of its push to grow business, Altodigital - ranked 47 in CRN's Top VARS 2017 - has appointed Mark Ash as its chief sales and marketing director.
Ash has previously worked with Xerox, HP and Samsung.
"I think the disruption caused to the market by the acquisition of Apogee by HP will affect the other large vendors," said Abrahart.
"We felt having someone like Mark - who spearheaded Samsung's growth prior to it being acquired by HP, and who understood the vendor's mind set and had worked with them - was quite important."
Abrahart stated that the current disruption in the copier and print market by the recent Apogee acquisition, along with the acquisitions of Annodata by Kyocera and Midshire by Sharp last year, works to its advantage.
"Customers like choice in product offerings and often if you become a printer vendor company, you tend to predominantly sell their products," he explained. "If the customer wants a different solution from a manufacturer then the dealer network can offer best of breed.
"We think we give the customer a lot more choice and better service because those that come to Alto will be a big fish in a small pond, but with HP and some of the other printer vendor resellers they'll be a small fish in a large pond."
Abrahart, whose background is in service engineering, added that customer care and rapid service response sets the VAR apart from its consolidated peers.
"It's the customer who decides what products they want - price will always continue to be important of course - but they want good service," he said.
"If they can't get the product fixed and repaired quickly enough then it doesn't matter what product they buy - it's not going to be good for their company, so we have to keep offering excellent service."
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