Nathan Andrew, SJ Andrew & Sons

clock • 4 min read

A director at an industrial supplies company based in Cornwall reveals his dos and don'ts when it comes to how IT suppliers deal with his firm

What does your company do, and what is your role there?

SJ Andrew & Sons is a steel stockholding and industrial supplies specialist based in Cornwall. The company was founded in 1914 and has since remained in the family, growing over the years with numerous investment and expansion milestones. Today it employs 33 staff with an average service of 17 years each.

I am the company director and great-grandson of the founder. I hold dual responsibility for protecting the company's legacy while also propelling the business forward into the future.

What traits do you seek in your IT suppliers?

In the current business environment where cyberattacks are a constant threat, it is more important than ever for organisations to have solutions in place to prevent and prepare for ransomware attacks.

From first-hand experience, I can say that it is crucial for IT suppliers to offer a solution that: 

■ Offers powerful and flexible data protection

■ Provides total business continuity and orchestrated recovery with a single click

■ Is capable of restoring entire infrastructures in minutes

■ Ensures minimum data loss and downtime

What are your main dos and don'ts for resellers and other IT suppliers when they are selling to you?

■ Be sensitive to the size of the business and offer a solution that's in line with this.

■ Don't underestimate the opportunity for advising customers how to navigate the technology landscape. If we feel better educated, we are more likely to choose the right technology to fuel future growth.

■ Where feasible, offer a scalable solution that can be dialled up in parallel with business growth.

How can IT suppliers best influence you early in the sales cycle?

From the very beginning of the process, IT suppliers should be transparent and upfront about costs and requirements. The important thing is to build a relationship and establish a trusted partnership with an organisation that can provide comprehensive IT support in order to protect business revenue in the long term. This process begins with an initial proper assessment of the business needs. From there, it's about agreeing on an appropriate solution that meets the requirements, building out a service-level agreement and defining expectations and deliverables. After that, it's all about clean execution. The vendor who consults with me first, outlines their plan and has a clear strategy for implementation is most likely to win my business.

Can you give us an example of a project where an IT supplier has really impressed you? What did they get right?

We were recently the target of a ransomware attack. It was terrible. We were flooded last year, and I remember opening the door to the building and water flowing out. That was awful, but ransomware was much worse. I knew with the flood that we could clean it up, but I was really worried and uncertain about how the ransomware attack would end. What was shocking was that I thought we had taken good security precautions. We'd moved to Office 365, and had good anti-virus and firewall protection in place.

The first action was to shut down the PCs and call the service provider who quickly assessed the damage and concurred with my diagnosis that this was a ransomware attack. As a senior member of staff owned the compromised PC and had high-level access, contamination was widespread.

While a ransomware attack is not something any company wants to experience, for us this was a good outcome.

Do you generally prefer to procure as many IT goods and services as possible from a single supplier, or work with multiple specialists?

It's important to us that the technology we implement is tried and tested, and we also prefer keeping things simple with a limited pool of trusted experts who know our business well and can contribute to our business success. With that in mind, we work with a handful of IT suppliers that are specialists in their respective areas. In our opinion, it's very valuable to have expert guidance on critical business infrastructure.

For example, a general IT contractor might have recommended a different approach to dealing with our ransomware situation. Working with experienced professionals who are not guessing, but who positively know how to resolve a situation we have never experienced before trumps working with a smaller number of suppliers. Your business depends on it.

You may also like
Tackling the gender gap in AI - Gavriella Schuster


In this opinion piece, the former Microsoft global channel chief, and chairwoman of the advisory board at Artificial Solutions, explains what more can be done on this issue

clock 25 November 2022 • 4 min read
German cybersecurity awareness firm SoSafe expands Channel Program across Europe


The vendor's head of international partnerships, Dao Tran, talks partner strategy and having a resilient approach to cybersecurity threats in the market

clock 08 November 2022 • 7 min read
Industry Voice: 'We're committed to VMware's partners' - Broadcom


Broadcom CEO shares answers to some FAQs put to the company by VMware's partners amid the ongoing integration process

clock 04 November 2022 • 3 min read

Sign up to our newsletter

The best news, stories, features and photos from the day in one perfectly formed email.

More on Reseller

Insight promotes Bruno Cressot to sales director France

Insight promotes Bruno Cressot to sales director France

Cressot will lead and unify all sales teams in the country

Andrea Gaini
clock 23 February 2024 • 1 min read
'In these dynamic times, SAP can't lose focus': The channel reacts to the vendor's partner summit

'In these dynamic times, SAP can't lose focus': The channel reacts to the vendor's partner summit

CRN spoke to three SAP partners during its summit in Twickenham about their relationship with the vendor

Andrea Gaini
clock 23 February 2024 • 9 min read
Bytes CEO resigns over undisclosed trades

Bytes CEO resigns over undisclosed trades

The reseller’s board said it is working to clarify details as current MD Sam Mudd will lead as interim CEO

Andrea Gaini
clock 21 February 2024 • 1 min read


Staff & Salaries 2022

Staff & Salaries 2022

A snapshot of pay and headcount trends in the UK channel

Doug Woodburn
clock 09 March 2022 • 1 min read
Midwich CEO on Nimans acquisition, 2021 results and return to pre-pandemic levels

Midwich CEO on Nimans acquisition, 2021 results and return to pre-pandemic levels

Stephen Fenby talks to CRN after Midwich’s 2021 results in which profitability exceeded pre-pandemic levels

Josh Budd
clock 08 March 2022 • 3 min read
4 more vendors suspend sales in Russia following Ukraine invasion

4 more vendors suspend sales in Russia following Ukraine invasion

IBM and Microsoft are among a number of vendors which have also announced that they will halt sales in Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

clock 08 March 2022 • 3 min read