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View from the Channel – With Anna Assassa, CEO of Tisski

Established in 2011, Tisski is a fast growing Microsoft Gold Partner and Microsoft Cloud Solutions Provider with more than 100 employees and annual revenues in excess of £10 million. Specialising in the Dynamics 365 suite, including Finance, Marketing, Power Apps, Power Platform and Azure, Tisski helps organisations improve productivity, efficiency, accuracy, security and customer service through customised CRM, ERP and Business Intelligence implementations. It works with public, private and third sector clients and regularly secures major technology transformation contracts ahead of larger, more established rivals. Clients include British Business Bank, The Institute of Environmental Management, the Health & Safety Executive, the NHS, Department for Transport, Crown Prosecution Service, Department for Education, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and West Mercia Police.

Technology Reseller (TR): How’s business; better or worse than 12 months ago? And how confident are you about the future?

Anna Assassa (AA): In our last financial year to August 2109, we almost doubled our turnover to around £8 million, thanks to some significant contract wins in the public sector, particularly central government departments. Since then, we’ve been able to maintain a strong rate of growth and remain optimistic that we will reach £12 million this financial year.

Tisski’s ability consistently to deliver fantastic service is down to the quality and effort of our people and our recent growth has been underpinned by an expansion of our team across all areas of the business. We now have over 100 employees and expect to continue hiring for a range of positions over the next six months.

We’re as confident as you can be about the future. There’s still a strong appetite among organisations to transform their operations through innovative configurations of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and we have a track record of delivering on time and on budget, as well as building strong, long-term collaborative relationships with our clients. This has been key to our success to date and remains firmly embedded in our ethos and culture.

TR: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

AA: The public sector continues to be a key area, as there’s a strong mandate to move away from legacy approaches and to harness technology solutions that are proven and can be scaled effectively. We love working with innovative organisations that are looking to enhance service provision, improve citizen engagement, drive efficiencies and ultimately provide savings for the public purse. Embarking on a journey to deliver these outcomes is what gets us excited and we’re proud to have been involved in significant transformation projects with some of the key pillars of the public sector.

This year, we expect to see further demand from police forces and other emergency services that are exploring how software can enable them to deliver a professional, more compassionate and positive service whilst minimising the overhead on valuable operational resources.

We’re also seeing more demand in the ERP space. Increasingly, finance departments in both private and public sector organisations are recognising that legacy systems need replacing. Cloud solutions offer a cost-effective, proven means of adopting RPA (Robotic Process Automation) to reduce the burden of administrative tasks and AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning to unlock valuable strategic insights.

Then, there is increasing interest in modern CRM & ERP systems from membership organisations that are looking to grow by offering a more diverse range of services and by improving the member experience.

TR: Where is business proving most difficult?

AA: I think there’s been a hesitancy to invest in new technology from some SMEs due to the uncertainty around Brexit. However, in our experience, mid-market businesses, corporates and the public sector remain resolutely committed to digital transformation as it’s fundamental to their long-term success.

TR: How have you changed/are you changing business operations to exploit new opportunities?

AA: Our focus has always been on innovation, employee empowerment and fostering a professional culture with a clear emphasis on client outcomes and value for money. We’re increasingly looking at ways to become even more agile and responsive to customer needs, which includes looking at added value transformation and support services.

TR: What do you see as the biggest challenges facing channel businesses today?

AA: I think technology and software organisations in the sector as a whole will need to do more to develop the next generation of talent…and the one after that. We’re already doing our bit at Tisski by linking with local universities and education providers and offering opportunities to graduates and current students.

TR: Could vendors and distributors do more to help you overcome them? And, if so, what?

AA: I don’t think so. We have a fantastic relationship with Microsoft, receiving consistent communication, market insight and support around the software we configure. Together, we ensure that this collaboration carries through to the development of skills in our people and knowledge transfer for our clients.

Increasingly, finance departments in both private and public sector organisations are recognising that legacy systems need replacing

TR: Are customers becoming more demanding, and, if so, in what ways?

AA: I wouldn’t say customers are more demanding. What I would say is that clients are well aware of the potential that cloud software offers and that they expect their technology partners to help unlock those benefits, deliver maximum ROI and optimise, maintain and continuously improve the solutions they develop.

TR: If you could change one aspect of your job, what would it be and why?

AA: I know it sounds clichéd, but I honestly wouldn’t change a thing! I work alongside a fantastic bunch of people who share the same drive and ambition to deliver the best possible service and experience for our clients. I’m grateful to be doing something I love.

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