Daisy Group is uniting its channel businesses under a single brand, Digital Wholesale Solutions. James Goulding spoke to CEO Terry O’Brien and Chief Digital Officer Nathan Marke to find out the reasons for the reorganisation and what it means for channel partners
Daisy Group, a provider of communications, IT and cloud solutions to UK businesses, has responded to greater convergence in the ICT industry by merging its three channel-serving divisions – Daisy Wholesale, Daisy Distribution and Daisy Worldwide – under one organisation and one brand, Digital Wholesale Solutions.
In a further break with the past, Digital Wholesale Solutions will operate independently of other businesses in the Daisy Group so that it is able to respond more quickly to new opportunities in the rapidly changing ICT landscape, while still benefiting from the scale and financial backing of the wider Group.
CEO Terry O’Brien said that the decision to merge Daisy’s channel-facing divisions was taken towards the end of last year to create a business that is “completely channel-obsessed” and concerned only with how to help partners grow.
“Daisy has an excellent heritage in the telecoms market and a very good reputation in the telecoms channel, where we have had outstanding growth over the last five years, but increasingly we have been trying to help partners address the convergence of telecoms, IT and cloud technologies. With that in mind, we felt that a name change and a brand change was right for our business,” he said.
“Putting Digital front and centre of that was really important, because while the Daisy brand is well known in telecoms, it is less strong in the cloud and IT space, particularly from a partnering and channel business perspective. With the Digital Wholesale Solutions branding, we are starting to talk about what we can do for partners in that Digital world, while making sure partners are absolutely clear that we are a 100% partner-focused business through the Wholesale element.
“It demonstrates to our existing partners, a lot of whom come from a telecoms heritage, that we are making ourselves fit for that converging market, so they have the confidence to partner with us and grow in those spaces. Equally, the brand extends into the cloud and IT space really well, so we also appeal to people there who are looking for someone with a very strong heritage and capability in the telecoms market.”
O’Brien adds that the combination of the new branding and the freedom to operate autonomously, while still enjoying the financial security and investment resources of the broader Group, has already had an impact on the business.
“We’ve got the scale and strength of a really successful business but the feel of a start-up – a start-up without fear of failure because we have already succeeded,” he said.
The priorities for Digital Wholesale Solutions are, first, to make sure partners have a seamless experience, which it is doing by giving each one a single contact within the company and by merging its two existing partner portals into one, giving partners a one-stop shop for everything from ordering to provisioning; and, second, to expand the range of products and services available.
“In the past, we have had tremendous growth in the telecoms market, whether that be traditional voice services, broadband, fibre services, Ethernet services, mobile services or cloud telephony services. Very imminently, we are extending our portfolio in the product supply area, bringing a subscription based service to partners where they can leverage our scale and buying power to get product from a range of distributors in a fully automated way. On top of that, we are working actively on a couple of big partnerships in the cloud space to bring cloud services to the market. I can’t say more than that at the moment,” said O’Brien.
Chief Digital Officer Nathan Marke points out that this kind of product expansion is nothing new for the company.
“What these three businesses have separately done very well is constantly modernise their portfolios as technology changes. Bringing them together, I think, will give us great focus and great agility and enable us to execute much better, without any distraction, 100% focused on how a partner consumes products and makes money out of them,” he said.
“We aim to be a super-aggregator so our partners can come to one place, with one contract and get a really simple experience through our portals, our APIs and our fantastic support. Our Net Promoter Score is a positive 50 – it’s outstanding. What we are trying to do with our broader portfolio is make it easy for partners to offer more to their customers, because that is what their customers are demanding.
“Over the next five years, the overall ICT market is expected to grow by around 3%, but none of that growth is happening in the large enterprise or Government departments; it’s all happening in SOHO, SME and start-ups, where we are seeing 5%, 6%, 7% growth. SMEs are clearly very hungry for technology that allows them to grow fast, to compete, to look like big companies, but unlike larger businesses they don’t have lots of people on hand to run IT for them and so rely heavily on partners. Because they don’t have the time to manage lots of partnerships, we are seeing a massive trend for consolidation. Today, a small business doesn’t need more than 2 or 3 close and trusted partners to deliver the whole of their IT capability.”
O’Neil added: “The major networks and carriers are unable to support small businesses in this converging world of digital anywhere near as well as the channel community. The channel is just brilliant at it. There is a huge opportunity for them to win and to win big because the majors can’t do it.”