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Platform for growth

As Maintel announces plans to double its cloud business over the next two years, Technology Reseller asks CEO Ioan MacRae about the company’s plans for its 30th anniversary year

At the end of January, communications and managed services provider Maintel announced further progress in its cloud transition, with a 31% rise in cloud-contracted seats to 102,000 in 2020, up from 78,000 the year before.

Maintel CEO Ioan MacRae told Technology Reseller that 2020 was a ‘tough year’ but one in which the communications-focused company did a lot of the groundwork needed to deliver growth over the next two years, including changes to its structure, board, products, vendors and partners.

The latter included a partner recruitment drive for its MS Teams calling plans and ICON cloud services including Remote Working, Unified Communications as a Service, Contact Centre as a Service, Managed Network Services, Mobile Device and Application Management and Security as a Service.

With the ICON platform, resellers benefit from an easier and more cost-effective way to offer transformational communications technologies, without capital investment or risk, while their customers gain flexibility and the ability to shift responsibility for infrastructure management, support, upgrades and hosting to a cloud partner.

MacRae says continued take-up of these services by resellers and managed service providers is likely to be a key growth driver for Maintel as it seeks to increase the proportion of group revenue generated by the cloud from 25% today to more than 50% by the end of 2022.

“Our aim is to double the amount of contracted seats over the next two years to in excess of 200,000. Depending on the services people take, 55-60% of Group revenue will be cloud-related,” he said.

MacRae expects growth to come from three main areas. “Clearly, our existing customers – only about 25% of our customer base has transitioned or is transitioning to the cloud, so there is a lot of opportunity amongst existing customers. New cloud contracts will also come from new customers. And the third area that will drive that cloud adoption is working with other channel partners to resell or white label the cloud services we offer or produce ourselves.”

Maintel currently has a number of partnerships with big SIs/SPs, on the UCaaS and CCaaS side, plus relationships with about 10 resellers that resell Maintel solutions and services.

“This year there will be a far greater focus on expanding that reseller channel community,” MacRae said. “Last year we were yet to release Callmedia CX Now (Maintel’s omni-channel subscription service for call centres of 50 to 250 seats) – one of four products we developed but didn’t release. We maintained a 7-figure investment in our R&D, despite CoVID, and focused on getting the solutions, the portal, the commercials all ready to on-board with more resellers,” he said.

“That’s the focus this year, to make sure we increase the number of resellers we work with, but very specifically through a partnership – a proper partnership rather than a wide net where not a lot happens. We are going to be very specific in the resellers we work with.

“We want partners that have an interest and or a need to be in that cloud managed service space that don’t necessarily have the capability or the vendor portfolio to host their own datacentres. They want to retain their own customers and have those customers under contract, but want a partner to provide the UC, CC, security and a managed wrap that they can resell as a white label product back out to their customers, with clear SLAs and MSAs in place.”

MacRae added that partners would be able to add their own individual capabilities so that they can take a complete solution and service offering to customers, part of which will be supplied by Maintel.

2021 priorities
In the meantime, MacRae says his priorities are to play to Maintel’s strengths.

“It is really about refocusing the business – who are we and what do we do; developing our cloud portfolio; and taking that properly to market in the key verticals we are strongest in, so that we are not trying to be a partner to all customers, in all verticals, of all sizes. That is not us. We are very strong in five or six key verticals and a particular customer size – 500 to 1000 users and above. That is where our propositions, our vertical propositions, our vendor portfolio, as well as our own R&D development capability is going to be focused,” he said.

“We will continue serving those customers with more services and more solutions, but in a cloud deployment model. The customer has a choice; we can continue supporting a customer with on-prem technology; we can supply a customer with entirely cloud technology; or we can do a hybrid deployment model. And we can be fully flexible on the commercials; it can be pure Capex-based, it can be Capex and Opex, depending on budgets, or a pure consumption managed service wrap for multiple years. Deployment, solutions, commercials and services are fully flexible.”

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TechnologyReseller: 2021