We decided to conduct a series brief interviews with some of the customer facing team at Support UK over the course of the next few weeks. In so doing, we hope to provide an insight to the business and its people. We’d like for you to get to know the team, and for them to get to know you. We welcome your thoughts and questions and look forward to being of service to you.
We thought a good place to start would be with founder and Managing Director – Martin Green, and I started by asking Martin to take a moment to introduce himself:
GB: I’m joined today by founder and Managing Director of Support UK, Martin Green – welcome Martin – perhaps you could take a moment to introduce yourself?
MG: Good morning Graham, and yes, I’d be delighted to – I’m Martin Green, and I live and work here in Letchworth. I am happily married to Claire-Louise, and we have 2 lovely daughters who both attend local schools too. I have played rugby locally too, until retiring recently, but have stayed connected with the club and continue to provide sponsorship.
I formed Support UK in September 2005 after spending most of my working life in telecoms engineering, and have been fortunate to have travelled the world with my job supporting everything from global customer’s telecoms implementations, to vendor New Product Introduction and new market entry..
GB: Thanks for that introduction Martin. If I could start now, by asking you to tell us how you came to be in the telecoms market and what got you got started – can you tell us a little about your journey?
MG: Sure – My story begins around 20 years ago when I was working as a telecoms engineer for RPL in West London. They were a successful telecoms reseller providing SDX telephone systems, to the SME market. That was where I initially learnt my trade. After five years, I decided to branch out and started my first business with a colleague where we offered engineering services to SDX/Lucent/Avaya resellers. I then had an opportunity to go traveling in 2001 and sold my share in the business to my partner. I returned to the UK in 2004 and started contract work for Avaya, who famously launched the IP Office platform. I was involved in the testing of their contact centre software, and spent many months in North America, supporting the IP Office platform, for their Tier 4 support organisation. In 2005, I formed Support UK as Avaya moved to outsourcing their software testing and support to India. Support UK was initially a support company that offered engineering, and support contracts solely for other Avaya resellers. We additionally grew our own customer base, largely due to ‘word of mouth’ recommendations. This had no impact on our core business activities with reseller partners, as we had built a solid reputation of trust, and integrity. Because we have not employed a sales team, there has never been conflict between our reseller base, and our own end user base.
GB: Sound like a very dynamic time for you – and I’m sure you have witnessed some transformation within this sector in your time. What are you seeing as the main trends in this space now over the past few years, and what are you seeing as likely changes in the near future?
MG: It was a great time for me – working with a great team of people and great technology. I guess the changes I have been seeing are by and large how the technology is being consumed – the growth in hosted and cloud delivered telecoms and IT is probably the biggest change. This has probably also caused the biggest contention for many businesses as they are moving from, in some cases owning the technology, to simply renting it on a consumption-based model. We have seen this change impacting many resellers negatively, especially those with a significant sales force. The new model has meant a change in the commercial arrangements – from selling systems and being paid at the start of the contract, to being paid a smaller ongoing rental. Many businesses have struggled with cash flow – and the conundrum of paying sales staff. We are thankful that this is not something that has impacted us in this way here at Support UK. In the near future, I think that we will see a continued trend towards hosted telecoms consumption, and because this has resulted in a surge in new suppliers, it will, I think put pressure on the incumbent vendors who are mostly very large and not too agile. I expect a continuation of other change factors impacting the technology space- such as working practices – continuing towards a more location independent work model and increasing consumption of services whilst mobile or away from the office. I don’t have the statistics to back this up, but we anticipate this impacting the sale of fixed phones, and mobile apps and software will continue to increase in importance to businesses and consumers alike.
GB: Are you seeing an increase in the use of collaboration technologies – including video – desktop and meeting rooms, and vendors like Microsoft with Skype\Teams and Zoom to name but 2 vendors. What do you believe is driving this?
MG: Yes, we are – although again with a degree of caution. Many businesses bought video room systems some years ago, and they sit and gather dust today. Probably due in no small part to the fact that they were both proprietary and difficult to use – lacking the intuitive user interfaces that we have become used to today. User adoption is in our experience the biggest factor in how successful or not a technology is within any business. The drivers are in no small part due to the improvement in the open standards for these technologies, coupled with vastly improved user experience, and how these technologies are becoming pervasive in our personal lives – for example – Facetime and Skype, and the freemium business models giving customers the opportunity to “try before they buy”
GB: Thank you for sharing your views with us today Martin – any predictions from you for the next big thing?
MB: Hmm that’s a tough one, I don’t foresee anything in particular, but do expect to see more businesses establishing flexible working practices and there does not seem to be any let up in traffic congestion, and public transport does not offer much of an option for most of us. So, technology to support agile working would seem to be the way forward
GB: Thank you again Martin for sharing your story – it’s been insightful, and we look forward to catching up with you and other members of the team over the coming weeks