View From The Top

View From The Top

David Grant of Crane

Following his appointment as CEO of Crane Telecommunications at the end of last year Comms Business Magazine catches up with David Grant to hear his plans for the distributor in 2006.

David Grant stepped up to the role of CEO at Crane in October last year having previously been Chief Operations Officer. What key differences in your role have you experienced?

David Grant, “Effectively I now have complete responsibility for delivering the future growth plans of the business, as well as, the gainful employment and development of 150 staff. The differences I have seen are vendors, suppliers and virtually everyone we come in to contact with, rather than working with me regarding issues such as relationships, business levels and performance, now see me as their focal point rather than David George. He is now the Chairman of the company and I have to say, without wishing to sound sycophantic, that to take on the CEO role and win the ultimate respect of the channel when David George had been doing that job so well for the last 15 years is something that will not happen overnight. People that don’t even deal with Crane know David and respect his achievements at Crane. Needless to say however, he still reminds me it is his business and he’s been doing it a lot longer than I have!”

Let’s look ahead to the coming year, what will Crane be doing this year?

Grant, “One of the key areas we will have to look at this year is customer recruitment – it will be a key focus area for Crane both in terms of getting new resellers on board and finding end user customers for resellers to sell to. For existing customers we have to make sure we give them the best support in the market; we have to continue to invest and develop in terms of skills and capability. As well as this, we have to continually invest in our own staff. The market is moving at a frantic pace and knowledge will remain key to our success and the value of our teams.

Apart from support, lead generation for our existing channel partners is a critical aspect. New customers are essential for Crane as we have taken on two major vendors in the last twelve months, Mitel and Nortel. This means we have to find new routes to market for those vendors to expand their market share. We have very strong Avaya and LG business’s and we will not be taking Mitel and Nortel to those channels so we need to find new resellers for those products.

We also see a more consolidation in the channel with ATC taking over Sterry and Azzurri looking increasingly acquisitive. Further consolidation could mean a reduction in the number of existing customers we can sell to. For Crane to continue to grow we need more resellers but I also think there is an opportunity for Crane to supply more products to our existing customers. Not additional systems vendors, but associated product lines. All resellers are capable of achieving growth within their own customer bases as well as by their finding new customers to sell to.We want to help our customers get maximum return from their own customers and their relationship with us.

To compliment this, Crane will be placing greater emphasis on our own services capability and have just appointed Keith Deane as Technical Operations Director. Prior to joining Crane, Keith was Group Operations Director at the Redstone Group. Crane already has a maintenance, professional services and technical support business predominantly built around Avaya and LG. Crane provides these services for and behalf of resellers that do not have the geographical coverage or where these skills are not cost effective for the resellers to have. In 2006 we will be extending these services to both Mitel and Nortel product resellers.

As we focus on recruiting resellers that come from a more data centric background, this service capability will become more important as by using our skills, Crane will be able to help those resellers get to market much more quickly.


Do you have any plans to look at VoIP in 2006?

Grant, “We have always been positioned as a value added distributor and our name has become synonymous with voice,. When you look at what Crane does today then really we are a specialist distributor and our specialisation is increasingly IPT and convergence. What the channel will see in 2006 is that the new products and services we bring to market will be exclusively around these technology areas ..

Crane recently announced that you were now distributing Alcatel PBX systems in Holland.

Do you have any intention to add those products to your UK portfolio?

Grant, “No, we see no opportunity to work with another system vendor in the UK currently. Other technologies we are looking at for 2006 include, WiFi , network services and management, applications . If you consider that the system is at the core of the solutions we sell then we should be aware of the connectivity requirements for any site and therefore also be aware of the sales opportunities that arise around that sale. Consequently to build on our BT network services relationship is the start of the strategy..

We are also evaluating the hosted solutions market and applications to determine opportunities and threats 2005 has been a very good year establishing strong foundations for growth. 2006 will see the continuation of this work and greater depth and breadth to our products and services focused on IPT and convergence.
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