1. You were winners of Cloud Distributor of the Year at last year's CRN Channel Awards. What has that meant to the business to win the award that recognises excellence in an area that is so key to the IT services market?
To us as a business any sort of recognition from the industry or our peers who are part of that industry is well received.
It's nice for the team internally and for us as a business to know that it's recognised within the channel that the job that we do continues to drive value into our market.
2. What do you anticipate will be the future impact of this recognition among your peers, and your customers?
I think the impact will be low if I was being completely honest. It's one of those things that can be quite transient, as in you win an award and people see about it and what's happening around it over a short period of time, but whether that actually drives a change in people's perceptions of who you are and what you do over the longer term? I don't know.
I'd like to think that that is the case especially as this is the second year on the trot that we've won it. So then if there's that continued view of excellence of us as a business and that seeps in to people mindsets then I'd love to think it's got a much bigger impact than maybe I think it has.
3. Has the last 12 months changed Westcoast's business model or engagement with partners or customers in any way?
No. I wouldn't have said so. Our engagement model is all about the value that we bring to partners and how we deliver that value in to them.
That's been our mantra since the very beginning and it's about always trying to find new ways to continue adding that value. So, our mantra has stayed the same, the value we bring and how we bring it is always under review so the last 12 months hasn't changed that as we are always looking to evolve.
4. What has been the biggest market shift to impact your business over the last 12 months?
Would probably be that growth that is there inside azure. When I look across the business all up it has grown in excess of 25-30 per cent whereas azure has grown between 35-40 per cent for us as a number for the year.
That second and third workload that customers are taking seems to be picking up pace so as a trend towards people moving away from on-prem or moving away from managing on-prem into managing things from azure as well as inside azure that's definitely seen a shift for us this year.
5. What is the most important factor (s) to being successful in cloud services in you market?
Success for me comes from delivery and capability. If you can create a great service and deliver it really well then that's fundamental. There's too many people in my opinion within the market that are doing an OK job or even a mediocre one.
So I think there is definitely space to stand out, especially when it comes to cost.
Even in an uncertain market where cost is king there's the hidden costs of delivery that people seem to forget and I think that if you're in a place where you can really drive home your value and drive home your service then that should be more important than saving the one pounds or tens of pounds here and there.
6. What's next: What is the most influential trend already making an impact, or on the horizon, that will shape the UK channel?
I think that things take longer to get in to mainstream than you think they're going to. So two of the main things that have been talked about for a long time that haven't quite hit mainstream so far is things around cyber security and UC.
Breaches around cyber security are getting more prevalent now among smaller customers.
Whereas typically it might have been a larger customer that would have been affected because they had the data or the resources to allow them to buy things back from criminals, now it's starting to affect smaller customers as well who may not have that capability.
So cyber security is going become paramount for smaller businesses over the next one or two years even though it should of always been the case.
And then the second thing is UC. A lot of people are using UC in its simplest form at the moment but with the PSTN switch off coming in 2025, again it's getting now to that point where people are going to have to make a decision.
As much as many have left the decision as long as possible and many still will do, it will still take time to make and enact a plan. By the time we get to the end of 2023 that decision will have to have been made or may have to be forced upon people.
I think there's a much bigger conversation to be had around those areas within the channel and something that we will start to see more and more of soon.