"On a near daily basis, we meet with a disgruntled client we can acquire."
That's the bullish comment of Adam Jarvis, who heads up one half of Capita Networking Solutions (CNS), one of several new divisions Capita formed on 1 January as a result of its recent restructure.
2016 was something of an annus horribilis for Capita as the public sector giant was forced to trim its cost base and overhaul its company structure in response to its first ever profit warning in September.
At the start of March, chief executive Andy Parker announced he is to step down later this year after its full-year 2016 results showed a 15 per cent fall in underlying operating profits.
But Jarvis (pictured), who heads up the Cisco Gold, Avaya Platinum and contact centre activities that sit within the newly created CNS business, claims the reorganisation has put Capita on a stronger footing than some of its competitors, which include Daisy and Maintel.
"We believe we are now in a very stable position, having gone through the other side of that, whereas our competitors are still going through change and structural reorganisation," Jarvis said. "I think we can gain marketshare because of that disruption in the market."
With over 1,000 staff, CNS is a new division that sits with Capita IT Services and houses all of Capita's connectivity and voice assets, including Updata, Pervasive and Carrilion.
Jarvis heads up the voice side of CNS, which has 350 dedicated staff and focuses on Cisco, Avaya and contact centre, as well as Microsoft Skye for Business.
The idea behind the reorganisation was to bring like-minded businesses together under the same roof, Jarvis explained, with Capita's Trustmarque and Computerland brands also being fused together, as well as its various cyber-security interests, including NTS.
Previously, all of the ‘reseller' acquisitions Capita had made sat under its Technology Solutions arm, no matter what technology area they covered.
"The decision that was made, which was nothing short of common sense, was let's put the networking businesses into one unit. And that's Capita Networking Solutions," Jarvis said. "So our mantra now is two-fold, and that's the connectivity, which goes from WAN to LAN and through to cabling, and then on top of that we also have voice - and all the associated unified communications and collaboration - which is the primary product transported over the network."
A key focus for CNS will be getting operational management at customers to take security more seriously, Jarvis said.
"We increased our focus on security about 18 months ago, and one of the things that struck me is that security, particularly in the UK, is seen very much as an IT problem; it's almost viewed as something that was invented by IT to make life difficult, or to further their cause," he said. "CEOs get the message because of the TV coverage, but in that operational management layer there is a real lack of adherence with corporate policy.
"What we've found when we've worked with a number of CSOs, digital security officers, CIOs and CTOs is that they are really struggling to make the cultural change that's needed for security to actually work. We are having to help them with that cultural journey."
"For years people have talked about UC adoption - but adoption of these technologies remains incredibly low."
Helping customers improve the total cost of ownership (TCO) associated with unified communications projects is another of Jarvis' hobby horses.
"I've probably got 15 different products over and above voice, and for years people have talked about UC adoption - but adoption of these technologies remains incredibly low," he said. "So we are getting a lot of consultancy work with organisations to flesh out that RoI on the collaboration and UC components they have invested in. That drives a very long-term, sticky relationship with customers who see you are working with them to drive RoI and TCO [total cost of ownership]."
"We've got in the region of 250-260 contracted [Avaya] clients and I had to speak to just two of them, and they were just looking for reassurance."
Jarvis threw his weight firmly behind vendor partner Avaya, which is currently restructuring after entering Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February.
"I feel very confident it's a short-term blip," he said.
"The customer reaction was incredibly positive, and bear in mind that some of them are Avaya customers by the fact they were Nortel customers, and have already been through a Chapter 11 with Nortel. We've got in the region of 250-260 contracted clients and I had to speak to just two of them, and they were just looking for reassurance."
He added: "Avaya tried to develop a huge portfolio and I think they should stop doing that and focus on enterprise-class telephony, which will never go away. In that real enterprise-class voice market, I think there's still a huge market there. The 999 guys and large banks, and contact centres, all run on this technology."
"I'm very confident they will probably rightsize themselves from a technology and balance sheet perspective, and then we will have a quality alternative in the marketplace."
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