Comms Business Magazine talks to Elsa Chen, CEO of network communications services provider Entanet, about her company, the 2014 MBO and their plans for the coming year.
2014 saw Elsa Chen emerge as CEO of Entanet following the management buy out (MBO) of last February.
How did the rest of the year go for the new management Entanet team?
“Although we’re confident in our business, it’d be wrong to suggest we thought it would be plain-sailing after the MBO transaction was completed. Therefore we’re all very pleased to see how positive things have been as the strength of the business has shone through.
We ended the year with sales revenue up by 9% and turnover at nearly £30m. All of that growth was once again achieved organically and confidence in the business is high. One of the key objectives of the MBO was to support the growth of the company with investment.
So far we have spent over £2m on our national network with half a million of that being spent on upgrading Cisco core routers and a further £1.6m commitment on increasing our network capacity and resiliency, installing multiple 10Gig links to provide Entanet with the capability for growth. We have also invested in expanding our headcount by 20% to 90 staff with new recruits to our Service Centre, Sales Team and Network Operations Centre.
We learnt that our business is strong and have made strides in supporting our people to grow.”
What can we expect to see in 2015 from Entanet?
“Investment and growth will continue. A further £0.5m is earmarked for network upgrades and strategic focus will be placed upon core connectivity services. Further recruitment will continue in 2015 and reach 100 staff by mid-year.
One area of key interest for Entanet is Mobile Data. We have been looking very closely at the market. The forthcoming merger between BT and EE is an exciting prospect that will surely result in a number of opportunities emerging. Likewise the merger of O2 and Hutchinson will also produce opportunities. These are exciting times for our industry and these mergers are likely to be market changing, as the cost savings and synergies to be realised are huge.
Presently it is clear that the retail market is a priority for these mobile players whilst it is also the case that the whole MVNO piece is very complex and inflexible. There’s nothing viably tangible to be had at the moment, as the carriers are very protective of their markets.
In internet services it has become clear that for resellers to just supply an end user with one service, say access, is very risky and harder for them to retain as a customer compared to supplying a bundled range of services.
There’s already been a prolific land grab for fibre and superfast access. We believe that the business market will become less price driven and more value proposition driven.
Reliable, quality access has become far more critical for businesses today so how can connectivity decisions be made on cost alone?
Each business case needs to be evaluated on its own merits however. Whereas in a very small business DSL access with 3G back-up may be fine, for larger firms better, more robust service and back-up needs to be considered as being essential.
Entanet will be providing a wide range of services in our portfolio and it will become even more important for resellers to understand the differences between these products and advise their customers on the most appropriate choices for their business and how much they need to spend to get that robust, quality service. It will be a consultative process with the reseller having to caution and advise users on the price of access and the cost of outages for their business.”
How will Entanet’s go to market strategy change for 2015?
“Entanet will remain a channel focussed provider. We aim to expand the reach of our services and offer more operational support to add value to our resellers’ business models.
Time for training must be seen as an investment that has to be made as it is difficult for resellers to enter new markets without the knowledge.
Operationally we want to be able to make our existing services such as billing, payment collection and bundled provisioning services even more sleek for our channel partners so they can have the option to focus on what they are good at; sales and customer relationship management.
Other investments we are making include our multi-year project on the redevelopment of our business operations supporting systems based on the salesforce.com platform. We are now two years into the investment that’s enabling Entanet to produce a powerful and flexible company for the channel to do business with.”
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