Terry O’Brien, chief executive officer, and Nathan Marke, chief operating officer, both from Giacom, talk to Comms Business about how the company is evolving to ensure its partners can thrive.

Last month, the companies within the Digital Wholesale Solutions (DWS) group, which includes Giacom and Union Street technologies, united as one under the Giacom brand. Terry O’Brien, chief executive officer (pictured above, right), and Nathan Marke, chief operating officer (pictured above, left), both from Giacom, caught up with Comms Business to discuss what this means for the company and its partners.

DWS acquired Giacom and Union Street in 2020, bringing three well-known channel brands together. Since then, a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to combine these companies into a channel-only single source supplier of comms, cloud, hardware, and billing services.

When asked what the main considerations were in deciding the right timing for one brand for the whole business, Marke explained, “When we acquired Giacom and Union Street, we considered whether we should do a rebrand at the time. But we realised it means nothing to partners unless you authentically make a difference to their experience.

“It has taken us two and a half years to get to the point where we are one business and, with the launch of Cloud Market, partners can now get a single experience across all of our solutions. The rebrand for us was much more an internal exercise about bringing our teams together around one vision.

“For our partners, it is far more important for them to see what we’re doing in our systems, our people and our processes to make their life simple and give them the opportunity to grow faster.”

O’Brien explained that the company “consciously decided not to disrupt” Giacom and Union Street when they were first acquired. He added, “These were three organisations that were doing great jobs for the channel in their own right. At that point in time, if we had rebranded as well, that could have made things more complex and difficult for partners. That’s not what we’re here to do.”

Everything in one place

Bringing all brands under the Giacom name was announced alongside the launch of Cloud Market, mentioned by Marke above. This new partner portal delivers a unified platform experience across Giacom’s entire product portfolio.

It brings the company’s four existing platforms into one place, with improvements including intuitive navigation and performance enhancements. The combined platform looks to help Giacom partners deliver a broad range of products and services to customers.

This centralised platform will support Giacom’s mission which, O’Brien and Marke explained, is to “give partners everything they need to provide brilliant technology solutions to their customers”. The company looks to connect technology resellers and MSPs to cloud, comms, hardware and billing products and services so they can create the technology solutions that UK businesses need.

Marke emphasised what partners can expect from the Giacom team moving forward. He said, “We are now all aligned around one message about what this business does. That’s going to have so many benefits. In all the initiatives that we run, it creates a north star and a real clarity around everybody’s role in delivering that.”

Uncovering the Channel

One challenge for the Channel, O’Brien said, is the tough reality that resellers and MSPs are not always the first port of call for SMEs. Making the channel more visible to all organisations across the UK is a key priority for Giacom in the months and years ahead.

O’Brien explained many small business owners simply don’t know how to go about procuring the right technologies for their business, so they often start on their high street or using consumer-focused technologies.

He said, “As an organisation we are thinking about how we create a place for small businesses to come to get information, insight, and knowledge about how they can digitally transform their business. I’m not sure there’s many places an SMB could go to at the minute and, if we get this right, we can use this to create lead opportunities for our partners.”

Marke added the channel community is uniquely positioned to help contribute to tackling deep-rooted issues within the UK economy.

He explained, “Without a doubt, productivity is going to be a hot topic over the next few years. It’s tough at the moment, with high interest rates, high cost of living, and post-Brexit challenges and productivity is one of the levers, isn’t it? That’s still a bit of a mystery for the government. Why is our productivity the second lowest in the G7? And how do you fix it?

“This is an interesting area for me. Over the next few months, we’re carrying out research into productivity and output per worker in SMBs and examining how technology can impact it. We are working with some of our partners to directly interview SMBs that they’ve had successful deployments with.

“We will talk to those businesses about where they were before, where they are now, and what difference a specific technology deployment has made to their output, their productivity, their efficiency. Having that more practical knowledge of how technology can help productivity will be so helpful for our partners.”

Shining a light

The benefit of this research should be twofold. Marke anticipates it could be used by resellers to highlight possibilities to SMBs, as well as being used to spotlight the Channel and the tangible results partners are delivering for their customers.

He said, “Partners will be able to give really clear and specific examples for different vertical markets that show how a technology can improve the customer service, do more for less, secure the business, get value out of business data, or deliver remote or flexible working.

“That research will be made available as a resource for resellers, but we will also separately be able to talk to SMBs. We will not to be selling to them, we’ll just be looking to have a conversation with them and educate them about this amazing community of MSPs who can deliver solutions that can help their productivity.”

This interview appeared in our August 2023 print issue. You can read the magazine in full here.

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