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View from the Channel – With Paul Colwell, CTO of OGL Group

Already one of the largest and longest established technology solutions providers in the Midlands, Kidderminster-based OGL Group has been enjoying a period of rapid growth driven by rising demand for digital transformation and cyber security solutions from organisations across the public and private sectors.

The company started out in 1976 selling Olivetti typewriters and basic accounting systems under the company name of Oliquip, since when it has evolved its offering in line with advances in technology and changing customer needs.

Today, OGL Group delivers best in class IT solutions, business software and cyber security to more than 1,200 UK organisations through three specialist divisions – OGL Software, OGL Computer Support and CyberGuard Technologies.  All three work closely together to deliver a complete technology offering to customers.

OGL Group recently added to its capabilities with the launch of an Advisory Services division, led by new hire Nick Johnson, previously Director of Group IT at global engineering group GKN.  The new division has been set up to help mid-market companies that don’t have in-house IT expertise create IT strategies to achieve specific efficiency and growth targets.

This is one of a number of major initiatives undertaken by OGL Group over the last 18 months, following a period of record growth that has seen headcount rise to more than 320, with a target of 350+ by the end of the year. Others include the opening of a London office by CyberGuard Technologies, the launch of the company’s new Profit4 ERP software and a major expansion and refurbishment of its Kidderminster HQ to accommodate an expanding workforce and increased business activities.

Here, OGL Group CTO Paul Colwell gives his view from the channel.

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

Paul Colwell (PC): Business has been good, and we have seen growth across all of the company. We are confident that this will continue as we launch new products and services to the market. We recently launched our new Advisory Services division, offering strategy and consulting services alongside access to C-level technology executives.

TR: In what areas are you experiencing strongest demand?

PC: Definitely cyber security. As businesses settle into the post-Covid pattern there is a need to adapt security and consequently we are experiencing an increased demand for our Managed Detection and Response service.

TR: What recent wins are you most proud of?

PC: We have secured work with a large NHS Trust that has chosen to outsource its cyber security to us, and this has opened up more opportunities within the public sector. We already work for NHS Trust Birmingham Community Healthcare among other public sector clients, so we are very excited to build on our healthcare experience.

TR: Where is business provingmost difficult?

PC: New business is always challenging, and this has been compounded by Covid and people working from home and the cancellation of face-to-face network events, but we are starting to see this get back to normal now with growth in enquiries from businesses across the private sector in particular.

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

PC: Since the start of Covid we have driven efficiency through digital transformation and automation. This has helped us by enabling us to free up resource to work on new products and services.

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

PC: Price increases and the cost of living crisis affect everything we do from power used in datacentres to salary increases for staff.

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

PC: Unfortunately, they are going to be under similar pressures, but any support with go-to-market strategies is always welcome.

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

PC: I don’t think so. As a service business one of our core sayings is ‘expect more’ and hopefully we continue to deliver that.

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

PC: Nothing specific springs to mind, I work in a great industry which enables change.

OGL Group – major site refurbishment Kidderminster HQ
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TechnologyReseller: 2021