In another of our 'Meet the 2022 Shortlisters' series, CRN caught up with Paul Allen, Area Vice President, Global Accounts EMEA at WWT, to chat about its ambitious drive to services, the importance of employee health and wellbeing, and its future growth plans. WWT is shortlisted in the Best Company to Work For £101m+ Turnover category
How has your business evolved over the past year? Has the pandemic changed how you plan for the future and how you view and execute sales & marketing strategies?
WWT is doubling down on the drive to being an even more services-led company as the industry continues to evolve - in the last year, this has been more evident than ever. WWT is leaning in aggressively around being services-led, but we are doing it in a way that leads the conversation in talking about networking, data centre, security, voice, video, collaboration -- and then have the management consultants and software developers to enable the back office and the customer experience to flourish in our solutioning. WWT wants to help drive an outcome that positively impacts the customer's business.
WWT is and will continue to watch the market very closely as it continues to work through the pandemic and some macroeconomics both domestically and globally. This careful method of targeted investment will support WWT's big plans to continue to grow this coming year and beyond.
WWT has always been a very inclusive organisation for our employees to work in. More than ever before our collaboration and feedback driven culture has been paramount to how we continue to improve and evolve as an organisation. This has influenced our strategies and with the results this has delivered will continue to be a focus.
With many firms insisting staff return to the office for at least part of the week since the pandemic ended, how is your company operating in 2022? Is it a mix of homeworking and office working? Or fully office based?
During the pandemic we were able to switch very easily to remote working and continued to build a strong sense of culture and business success despite being 100 per cent homebased in the UK for 24 months. The number one priority of WWT has been the health and wellbeing of our employees, and we delayed the return to office until we were comfortable that our employees could be brought back into a safe environment.
We returned in April 2022 with a hybrid model, the majority of our employees choosing to work from the office at least two days per week. During the pandemic we relocated our UK Head Office to new premises and have newly refurbished space in the heart of the City, which has made a great environment for employees to come in and collaborate, providing comfortable spaces, a client suite and wellbeing area. This has helped support employees' return with state-of-the-art technology supporting their office experience.
How do you keep your staff motivated? Do you have any special incentives/schemes that they take part in?
Being a great place to work is part of our mission statement, something we hold everyone accountable to. We regularly ask our employees for feedback, through formal surveys, and group feedback sessions throughout the year. This helps the Leadership team understand what is important, burning topics that need to be addressed, and therefore pivot our strategy, or communications as appropriate. We run a learning series throughout the year that brings everyone together regularly, topics range from the IOT, soft skills development, to group cook-alongs. Our Diversity and Inclusion programme is also important to us as a minority owned business. In the EMEA region we have a programme that aims to inform, celebrate and educate employees across the range of cultures and diverse backgrounds of our employees.
With a range of events, such as Pride and Black History Month, our employees can actively be involved in the events that are important to them. Finally, our Global Community Impact Program provides outreach opportunities to our employees, empowering them to make a positive impact in the communities we work in.
Supporting organisations that provide education and career preparation; promote physical and mental wellness; and provide human services to address society's greatest needs through employee volunteerism and financial and in-kind support.
How have you managed to stay close to your partners and customers over the past year?
WWT has driven strong and aligned governance and communications with its key partners and many of those relationships are even stronger than ever - we see this as ongoing within our partner strategy not just in the last year. Our position at WWT is to be the independent adviser on behalf of our customers regarding the technology landscape and to be able to help them more quickly assess and determine what technology is best suited for them. Our key partners understand this fully and see this as true value more than ever.
What have been some of the biggest challenges for the channel in the past year in your opinion?
Component shortages leading to impacted supply chain services. This includes increased manufacturing lead-times, list price increases, delayed revenue recognition, delayed rebate payouts and delayed projects and programmes. However, at the same time, embracing change with a shift in selling more software, strategic resourcing and other services instead of supply chain.
Brexit complexities have also contributed with initial unknowns such as revised routes to market whilst adhering to changes in tax, trade, compliance etc. to meet industry standards.
Post Covid and the new norm of the return to the office and face-to-face meetings are back in place. Rebuilding and strengthening partnerships both internally and with our partners and customers is key.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?
Expanding and getting further recognition for the WWT brand across the region - while continuing to drive the international growth aligned to the overall WWT strategy.