How this Irish VAD is making the UK integral to its €100m-revenue goal

DataSolutions boss opens up on “doubling down” its UK growth efforts and the challenges of marketing during a pandemic

Michael O'Hara, group managing director of DataSolutions
Michael O'Hara, group managing director of DataSolutions

Irish distie DataSolutions plans to increase its efforts in the UK market to achieve €100m turnover by 2022, according to group MD Michael O'Hara.

The Dublin-based VAD counts HPE, Citrix, Checkpoint and RSA among its vendor partners in Ireland and works with Nutanix on both sides of the Irish Sea.

It reported a turnover of €74m for its year ending 31 March 2019, a jump of 57 per cent on the previous year's figure and one which O'Hara attributes to its growth in the UK. 

"It was a consolidation of the growth that we were achieving and bringing on new partners, establishing the name that bit better and tightening down the service that we provide, both in the UK and Ireland. We're a well-oiled well-run machine at the moment," he told CRN.

The VAD took its first steps into the UK in 2016, establishing its datacentre technology portfolio first before introducing its cybersecurity offerings to the market last year, which O'Hara believes will be a key contributor to smashing his goal of hitting €100m (£87.4m) in revenue in the next two years.

"The two pillars of our business are datacentres and security and in Ireland we would have a 50-50 revenue split. In the UK, this split was very much datacentre-centric and we see no reason why our security business can't match the growth that we've achieved in our datacentres," he elaborated.

"I would describe our security business last year as fledgeling and growing and getting established. It wasn't a stellar year but I actually think that by the year-end in March, we were starting to see the results. I think this year, apart from COVID-19, we will see a strong showing from our security business."

DataSolutions is on the hunt for more UK-based reseller partners as part of its growth strategy, though O'Hara said this the pandemic is presenting a challenge with regards to marketing and messaging.

"In this market, nobody is meeting anyone, so the challenge is how to get that message out in front of your partners and out to their end users," he stated.

"There's a lot of inventive ways to try to get that message out there; we are starting a series of non-product specific webinars next week. There are a lot of quality speakers who are normally speaking at events, but who now can't do them.

"That's the type of activity that we're doing to draw in partners and end users, and then surround that with our vendors' messaging as well."

Despite a so far tumultuous and unpredictable 2020, O'Hara is confident of reaching the landmark goal.

"It is impossible to predict what the revenues will be at this stage, all I can tell you is that our April number will be up on April last year," he said.

"I see strong growth in our security business; we are in a recession and it does slow down decision-making which can slow down revenues. I think any effect of that will be compensated by good growth in our security business."

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